It’s time for Napoli’s role in the Coppa Italia to begin, hopefully with far better results than their efforts a year ago. After winning the Coppa two years ago, they failed miserably in the quarterfinals last season — now as they get set to face Spezia, they have a chance to make right after that disappointment.
To do it, though, they’re rotating the side heavily, including giving appearances to several players in serious need of minutes. Rafael Cabral is starting in goal, with Nikola Maksimovic and Ivan Strinic in front of him on the left side of defense. Marko Rog and Emanuele Giaccherini are also getting their first starts of the season, and all in all this lineup looks like a very patchwork one.
But it’s not one without interesting potential — the midfield trio of Rog, Piotr Zielinski, and Amadou Diawara gives potent attacking potential, and there’s no questioning the potential Maksimovic gives Napoli in defense, he just needs minutes with the team to help unlock that potential. With a good performance today, even in a match against a lesser team like Spezia, those players can get valuable and much-needed experience, and that will be a big net positive for Napoli in the end.
Napoli: Rafael; Maggio, Albiol, Maksimovic, Strinic; Zielinski, Diawara, Rog; Giaccherini, Gabbiadini, Insigne
Spezia: Chichizola; N Valentini, Terzi, Ceccaroni; De Col, Maggiore, Deiola, Migliore; Piccolo; Baez, Piu
When: 9 p.m. CET, 3 p.m. ET
Where: Stadio San Paolo, Naples, Italy
TV: RAI Due (Italy), GOLTV (U.S.)