Hello and welcome back to Naples where Maradona is back try to recapture the Scudetto for Napoli as he did the last time he was here. In the last update we finished 2nd in our second season behind a rampant Inter Milan team. Let’s get straight into some news from the end of season 2.
Maradona picks up his first individual award with us by dazzling the Italian press with his performances.
First game of the new season and we travel to Hungary for our Champions League 1st round match. Bellucci opens his account for the season in just the 2nd minute when he latches on to a flicked header and curls it past Keller. We have to wait until the last 5 minutes for our second which Maradona converts after a scramble in the box. Good debut for Coridon and Gattuso with out other new signing Nevland on the bench.
Straight back to Naples for the second leg and our first home game of the season and Maradona gives the fans a real show. Imbriani sets up Diego for the first with a deft dink through middle. His second is hit from about 30 yards and it nearly bursts the net when it hits. In the 2nd half the ball is cut back to the edge of the area where Diego is waiting to curl it into the top corner. Keller gets a consolation for the Hungarians but we are safely into the group stages.
Our reward is a clash with Serie A champions Inter!
First call up for Diego in this series.
First game of the season and it’s away against champions and Champions League opponents Inter. We perform the classic smash and grab performance. It’s an even opening 20 minutes and we break the deadlock when Imbriani flicks the ball through for Bellucci to run on to and fire low into the net. The rest of the game is us on the back foot as Inter come forward in waves but we somehow manage to keep it 1-0 for a huge win to start the season.
Cup action now as we enter the Coppa Italia in the 2nd round and we breeze past Serie B Salernitana with a much changed side. Jardel opens the scoring after a neat lay off by Nevland. Jardel then doubles our lead after a corner isn’t cleared well. In the second half Longo makes a bursting run from midfield and slots home our 3rd. Beto then curls in a beauty from the edge of the box to make it 4-0. I bring on some subs and that allows Salernitana to get back to 4-2 but we have enough time for Imbriani to grab a 5th.
This one could have gone either way and the injuries we have really disrupt our flow. We take the lead when Beto flicks on a long ball and Bellucci fires it first time past Toldo. Straight from kickoff Fiorentina steam forward and Edmundo slams the ball home to level it up again. We then lose Beto so Cavaco comes in but in the second half we lose Coridon and i have to move Diego back and Imbriani back as well so Nevland can come on. It’s all Fiorentina from that point and they finally break us down in the 89th minute when Edmundo scores his 2nd to seal the win. Tough one to take.
Another game against Inter, this time in the Champions League, and it’s another narrow defeat. Ronaldo gives Inter the lead. What a player he is! He was my idol growing up and it’s easy to see why even now. Another legend equalises when a deflected shot falls to Maradona who taps it home. Inter pile on the pressure in the second half and Winter grabs the winner with 20 minutes left. Tough start to the group stage.
A win but we had to fight for it. Bellucci is the stand out performer with a superb hattrick. We start off really poorly and Bologna are all over us and deservedly take the lead when Binotto break free and coolly slots past Meier. Bellucci then equalises 10 minutes later when he turns and shoots to catch Antonioli flat footed. Bologna though continue to control the game and get the lead back when Brambilla cuts us apart and sends Andersson through who makes it 2-1. Just before half time we equalise and again it’s Bellucci getting on the end of a Imbriani flick on. In the second half we play better and start to push back and in the 89th minute Bellucci breaks through and smashes home his hattrick.
A solid win for us here as we dominate the first half. Maradona wins the ball high up the field and curls a ball across the box which Bellucci manages to slide into the back of the net. Bellucci then returns the assist for Diego who waltzs through and megs Quarta. We shut up shop in the second half and see out the win comfortably.
Masters of our own down fall here. We take an early lead and again it’s a Maradona assist and Bellucci on the end of it with a powerful effort into the top corner. We play well but all our hard work is undone when D’Alessio brings down Henry in the box for a stonewall penalty which Henry converts. Silly points thrown away here.
A fantastic win in Europe for us here. Once again it’s Bellucci and Maradona wrecking havoc. Bellucci gives us the lead when Imbriani threads the ball up to him to lash home. We get sloppy though and Popovic puts a cross in which is met brilliantly by Galic who powers his header past Meier. That sparks us into life and we retake the lead thanks to Maradona before half time. In the second half we really turn the screw with Maradona and Bellucci getting their second goals in a blistering 5 minute spell. Bellucci then grabs another hattrick with a fine solo effort to make it 5-1.
In between games we lose Imbriani for 4 months which is a nightmare!
These league fixtures are getting tougher. We’ve played away and Fiorentina and champions Inter and now away at European Champions Juventus. It’s another close game and the teams can’t be split. Di Livio gives Juve the lead after a slip at the back allows him to go one on one and he slots it past Meier with ease. We have to wait until the second half to level things up but we do when Jorge rises above everyone at a corner and flicks the ball into the top corner. A fair result this one.
A good win for us at home. It’s another early goal where Bellucci twists and turns to escape his marker and lays it off perfectly for Maradona to run on to his pass and smash it into the net. The keeper didn’t even move. Another solid defensive performance sees us take the 3 points.
What a game! We fought so hard for this point and I’m delighted with the effort. Milan come flying out of the blocks and score in the first 60 seconds when a mistake allows Weah through and he fires home. We are rocked for 10 minutes but we start to dominate only for Weah to go in again for his 2nd on the stroke of halftime. We go out for the second half and start much better. Bellucci grabs his first with a powerful effort but Chiesa gets that goal back instantly. We don’t give up though and Coridon makes it 3-2 after some good link play in the build up. We push and push and in the 90th minute Coridon finds Bellucci who smashes home the equaliser. Great moment.
Another mauling dished out in Europe and Maradona runs amock. Crasson opens the scoring after Longo’s shot is deflected. Maradona then scores from a Coridon through ball and then wins a penalty which he has to retake but still converts for 3-0. In the second half Maradona scores again with a great solo effort for his hattrick. Jamarauli gives the Tblisi fans a goal to cheer then Coridon makes it 4-1 before he comes off. His replacement Asanovic picks out the run of Maradona who scores to make it a 6-1 win.
That’s it for this update. Let’s have a quick look at the league table.
It’s been a really tough start in the league and to only lose once I think is a great start. Join me next time to see if we can catch up with Juventus and see if we can get past Inter the Champions League groups stages. See you next week.