Napoli had a chance to re-take first place in Serie A, but they threw it away by allowing AC Milan to hold them to a 1-1 draw thanks to a performance that left fans much more frustrated than they'd even been for the last week after consecutive poor results.
Napoli started off the match with the pedal to the metal, bursting forward early and often to put pressure on the AC Milan goal. The rossonero responded by dropping deeper and deeper and packing more men behind the ball, with just Carlos Bacca playing anywhere resembling high up the pitch. It was distressing to see a team like Milan playing such negative football, but it was hard to argue about its effectiveness, because Napoli struggled to get shots on target.
But they kept trying, and trying, and trying. And Milan dropped deeper, and deeper, and deeper. Napoli completely dominated most of the first half, and their hard work finally paid off when Lorenzo Insigne uncorked a shot from a weird angle that nestled inside the far post and put fluttery heart feelings in all of our chests.
Then came the rest of the match, which can best be summed up with the sound of flatulence.
Napoli gave up an equalizer almost right away when Kalidou Koulibaly misplaced a headed clearance and the rest of the defense decided to take a nap instead of do anything about it -- and Giacomo Bonaventura punished them for it at the far post. Napoli tried to push again after halftime, but their passes were wasteful, their crossing was worse, and aside from a few minutes of excitement cursed by poor luck, they looked painfully flat and out of ideas.
By the time the final whistle blew, after Napoli wasted consecutive clear chances with tame shots straight at Gianluigi Donnarumma and with Maurizio Sarri smoking in the stands after being sent off for arguing with the referee, it was no surprise to see that the score was still 1-1. It was frustrating, it was annoying, it was even bordering on infuriating. Napoli need to turn around this sharp slide in form fast, or they're going to be in trouble.
On to the next.
Napoli: Reina; Hysaj, Albiol, Koulibaly, Ghoulam; Allan , Jorginho, Hamsik, Callejon (Mertens 65'), Higuain, Insigne
Goals: Insigne (39')
AC Milan: Donnarumma; Abate, Alex, Zapata, Antonelli; Honda, Kucka, Montolivo (Bertolacci 83'), Bonaventura; Bacca (Menez 72'), Niang (Balotelli (87')
Goals: Bonaventura (44')