Merry Tuesday to you! We find Nathan waiting for us in Naples ready to take us to the end of season one. Can Maradona help secure European football again?
Hello everyone and a very Happy New Year to you all. We are back in Naples to see how Diego is getting on with his 2nd stint at Napoli. In the last update we had managed to get to 4th spot in the league picking up some good results along the way. A spot in Europe is what we are aiming for so let’s see if we can get closer to that aim.
Not a great start here. Atalanta are struggling in 17th so this is a game we should be winning with ease. We have plenty of chances in the first half but can’t convert despite Maradona carving open the Atalanta defence like a left over Xmas turkey. We score straight from the restart in the second half when Bellucci flicks on a cross and Esposito smashes home the opener. We then give away a penalty which Lucarelli misses but 2 minutes later makes amends to level the scores and that’s how it stays.
A good away victory for us here as Fiorentina and Batigol are brushed aside. In the first half we are hanging on a bit as Fiorentina run all over us. I have some stern words at half time and we score straight from kick off again. Maradona picking up a through ball and curling it past Toldo. Within 10 minutes we are 2-0 up when Esposito reacts quickest from a shot off the bar to tap home our 2nd. Fiorentina are stunned and have no come back.
A commanding performance here from us. We dominate the first half and get our just reward when Bellucci breaks free and nutmegs Mondini. In the second half Diego skips past 2 defenders before laying it off for an easy finish for Bellucci to double his lead. 10 minutes later a loose ball at the back allows Beto through to slide past Mondini to make it an easy 3-0 win.
Credit to Bari here who are near the bottom in a relegation struggle and they keep us out until the hour mark when Asanovic plays a lovely corner right into the mixer where Blomberg fires a header at the keeper who can only parry it straight to Maradona who flicks it in with his head.
A good home win on the back of a great Maradona performance. Our first goal comes after 20 minutes when Esposito hits a shot which the keeper gets a hand to but Maradona is on the spot to hit home the rebound. Just before half time Maradona hits one from distance which beats the keeper but crashes off the bar falling to Protti to tap home to make it 2-0. We see out the second half with no problems.
Bit of a controversial result here as Lazio have 2 goals ruled out by the referee. I must admit if had been the other way round I’d have been fuming but as it worked in our favour I’m ok with it. Our goals come either side of half time. The first is a rebound which Protti stabs home just beating the defender to the ball. Our second is a great solo effort when Asanovic breaks from midfield and hits a thunderbolt into the top corner.
A big game now against AC Milan and we come away feeling a little disappointed. Milan are just above us in 2nd place with 3 games to go after this one. We are the better team throughout but we just can’t find that bit of quality or magic to force an opening goal. It’s a good point really but there was definitely more on offer.
What a mental 20 minutes! Sampdoria kick off and keep possession well and finish off a glorious passing move with Signori slotting it past Meier. We instantly reply though with long ball up to Bellucci who brings it down, turns and fires past Ferron. 3 minutes later Sampdoria take the lead again when Balleri heads in a corner. We then score 2 in 2 minutes, first from Diego who clips it over the onrushing Ferron and then Esposito hits home Maradona’s deflected shot. In the second half we make some sloppy mistakes but thankfully don’t get punished.
This our worst performance for some time. We don’t create many chances and the chances we do create we waste. Credit to Piacenza they take us apart with Inzaghi playing through Piovani who slides it into the bottom corner. That’s followed by a cross which D’ Alessio makes a mess of and ends up heading into his own goal. Poor game for us.
Our final game of the season comes against Empoli and Maradona gives us a show to close the season out. He hits the bar early on and Beto hits home the rebound for 1-0. A slip at the back lets Maradona steam through and round the keeper to tap home our second. Empoli then get one back after a mistake at the back from us allows Cappellini in to score. Maradona then grabs a 2nd by lobbing the keeper before flicking a ball round the corner for Bellucci to smash acorss the keeper into the far corner.
So how does the table look after Diego’s first season back?
We clinch 3rd spot from Inter which is a huge success for us and gets us European football next season. Maradona has brought this team together and lifted there performances. Hopefully some new recruits will help us handle the added games in Europe and try get closer to Juventus. Join me next time for a summer update and the start of Season 2.