After all the games between Napoli and Juventus, there were five outings that represented more than just a win for the Bianconeri. And, given the importance of the games, they placed themselves in a special place along the time scale, acquiring a meaning that went beyond the season in which they were played.
Napoli-Juve: 5 victories in 5 different decades
More than two points were up for grabs with a win when Juventus visited the San Paolo in the return fixture. Because in Naples, Luis Vinicio - a former Neapolitan player - as a coach proposes a new brand of football, borrowed from the Dutch at the World Cup, included zone markings, high offsides, and compact team. It was an interesting proposal, that generated good results up until they faced Carlo Parola’s Juventus, who moved into the wide spaces in front. A tennis-like scoreline comes from it. Altafini opened the scoring, which was followed by a brace from Damiani and a goal from Bettega. Causio and Viola each. It was a victory that made many Italians happy just like Gianni Brera, who wrote how the Bianconeri actually had the opportunity to achieve the result.
Because of the importance of what was at stake, this is the most emotionally driven match involving Napoli-Juventus in history. The Azzurri had not yet known the pleasure of a Scudetto success. The table rankings were as follows: Juventus 40, Roma 39, Napoli 38, and with only two match days to be played, anything could happen. But an own goal by Guidetti in mid-shot throws the San Paolo into silence that the radio connection of all commentators makes for unforgettable atmosphere. Seven days later, defeating Fiorentina at the Comunale, Juventus were crowned the Italian champions.
It’s only the third match day and all eyes are on San Paolo, with Marcello Lippi (who was a former Napoli coach) on the opposite bench, and Ciro Ferrara, who for the first time will play as an adversary to the home side.
But the attention was stolen by a 19-year-old boy, who had already proved his talent, but was yet to invent a goal in his own manner. The fateful moment arrived in the 72nd minute, with the score at 1-0 courtesy of a goal from Ravanelli in the first half: the No. 10 invents a right footed ball that’s absolutely unstoppable. His name is Alessandro Del Piero.
Matches between Juventus and Napoli are never normal. Zdenek Zeman was on the Napoli bench. At half time, the hosts were happy after finding a goal. But the Bianconeri have resources to turn around the situation. The scoreline was turned on its head by Kovacevic, and a beautiful action from Del Piero, that only further underlined the class of Pinturicchio.
This time it’s Benitez against Allegri, in his first year as Bianconeri coach. At San Paolo, the Old Lady showed her real strength. Paul Pogba opened the scoring with a goal of high quality against Napoli: his flying effort is a masterpiece. After Britos’ equaliser in the second half, the reaction was immediate and through a deflection from Caceres. The full recovery was made by Vidal. It was a win that fully expressed the unity in the squad.