TURIN — Juventus delivered an efficient performance as they moved back to provisional top spot in Serie A on Friday, securing a 1-0 home win against a wasteful Napoli thanks to a header from Federico Gatti.
Juve had their best chance of the first half when Dusan Vlahovic's close-range attempt was blocked by Natan, and Weston McKennie's subsequent rebound with an overhead kick was denied by Napoli goalkeeper Alex Meret.
Weston McKennie bicycle kick vs Napoli
Weston McKennie went for it! pic.twitter.com/12Sqg5kCl8— CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) December 8, 2023
Just before the half-hour mark, Khvicha Kvaratskhelia found himself alone with Wojciech Szczesny inside the box after being set free by Victor Osimhen. However, the Georgian winger sent the ball over the bar, much to the surprise and relief of the home fans, and causing visible frustration for Mazzarri.
How did Khvicha Kvaratskhelia miss that?! pic.twitter.com/n9kATNSKbe— CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) December 8, 2023
Six minutes into the second half, Juve broke the deadlock when Gatti collected an Andrea Cambiaso cross at the back post, outjumping his marker to head it into the back of the net.
Federico Gatti does it again!Goals in back-to-back matches for the Juventus defender. ⚪⚫ pic.twitter.com/bDhFihWMTX
— CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) December 8, 2023
Napoli had numerous opportunities but Kvaratskhelia missed a huge chance, while Juventus goalkeeper Szczesny made several saves to thwart the visitors' clear scoring chances.
Juve top the standings with 36 points, one ahead of Inter Milan who host lowly Udinese on Saturday.
"We did well in the first half, moving the ball side to side, then in difficult moments the team becomes a block of granite," Juve manager Massimiliano Allegri told DAZN.
"I have a group of players who work hard. We need to slow things down, not always try to make it one-touch football. We should control the ball better in some moments of the match."
Asked about Juve's stated hopes of a top-four finish, Allegri said: "We can even say in the dressing room that we have the ambition to win the Scudetto but you need to get results. There's no point talking about what might be, we need to focus on what is."
For Napoli, the match highlighted their struggling form, marking three consecutive defeats across all competitions for Walter Mazzarri's side. They are fifth with 24 points.
Napoli's intense start saw them creating several early chances, with Giovanni Di Lorenzo denied by Szczesny's goal-line save and Matteo Politano narrowly missing the post moments later.
Napoli's difficulties in front of the goal continued when Di Lorenzo struck a powerful shot from close range just before the break, only to be denied by Szczesny's exceptional diving save.
After Gatti's goal, Napoli's momentum dropped and they struggled to create chances or mount an offensive to equalise.
Osimhen put the ball into the net for Napoli after Szczesny's pass was intercepted and knocked back to the Nigerian, but the offside flag was raised.
Juve travel to Genoa on Friday for their next Serie A match.
Juventus vs Napoli full highlights
(Reporting by Tommy Lund in Gdansk; editing by Clare Fallon)