Napoli won their first major title
since the Diego Maradona era, denied Serie A champions Juventus
the double and handed their captain Alessandro Del Piero an
unhappy end to 19 seasons at the club by beating the Turin side
2-0 in the Italian Cup final on Sunday.
Edinson Cavani broke the deadlock with a penalty just after
the hour and Marek Hamsik finished off a counter-attack as
Napoli claimed their first trophy since the Maradona-inspired
team won Serie A in 1989/90.
Juventus had substitute Fabio Quagliarella sent off in the
89th minute for a full-blooded elbow in the face of Salvatore
Aronica after only 17 minutes on the pitch.
"This was a club that didn't exist, said Napoli president
Aurelio De Laurentiis, a film-maker who refounded the club after
it was declared bankrupt in 2004 and led it from Serie C back to
the top flight.
"In a few years we've brought something home, above all the
knowledge that Napoli exists, lives and can be the world
champion of the sport."
Napoli coach Walter Mazzarri said: "It seemed unthinkable to
"They hadn't ever lost this season [in Serie A] and to beat
them 2-0 was magnificent work. The team has done something
extraordinary in the last three years: Cavani, [Ezequiel]
Lavezzi, Hamsik are on everyone's lips, but it's an entire team
that should be acclaimed as one."
"This was the 51st game of the season. Anyone who plays
football knows that playing these games at that level is hard.
We have paid in the championship for this. You can lose to
anyone in our league, and we dropped too many points."
Although Juventus had completed their 38-match campaign in
Serie A without losing, there was some debate over their 2-2
Italian Cup draw after extra time against AC Milan in their
semi-final second leg.
Milan claimed that, as they were winning 2-1 at the end of
90 minutes, that should count as a Juventus defeat.
Del Piero, 37, was told earlier this season that his
contract at Juventus would not be renewed and the talismanic
forward was given a standing ovation when he was substituted
midway through the second half.
Juventus coach Antonio Conte kept to his regular cup line-up
with Marco Storari in goal instead of Gianluigi Buffon and a
starting role for Del Piero, who has been used mainly as a
substitute in Serie A.
Napoli, who finished fifth in Serie A and missed out on the
Champions League by three points, were quickly on the attack as
Hugo Campagnaro burst down the right and crossed for Juan Camilo
Zuniga whose header was turned away by Marco Storari.
Lavezzi shot wide on the counter-attack while a fierce
effort from Zuniga was charged down by Leonardo Bonucci.
Juventus had a penalty appeal turned down just before
half-time when Claudio Marchisio claimed to have been felled by
Napoli continued to push forward after the break and won a
penalty when Lavezzi was upended by Storari and Uruguay forward
Cavani sent the Juve goalkeeper the wrong way from the penalty
Juventus, who had devoted much of their energy to protesting
refereeing decisions, suddenly started playing and enjoyed their
best spell of the match, forcing Morgan De Sanctis to make two
The Napoli goalkeeper did well to punch away Bonucci's
volley then somehow saved Simone Pepe's deflected shot with his
Napoli made the game safe when Goran Pandev broke from the
halfway line and slipped the ball to Slovakia forward Hamsek who
fired past Storari.
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