Higuain decisive in Juventus’ 2-1 triumph over Napoli
Turin, Oct 30 (IANS) Juventus striker Gonzalo Higuain scored the winning goal against his former football club Napoli, helping the hosts to a dramatic 2-1 victory over their Serie A title rivals at the Juventus Stadium.
Having switched Naples for Turin during the summer in a controversial 90 million euros ($98.9 million) move, Argentine Higuain’s left-footed strike on Saturday night in the 74th minute helped the title holders take a 2-1 win.
Earlier, Jose Callejon had cancelled Juventus defender Leonardo Bonucci’s 50th-minute bomber in the 54th minute.
This win helped Juventus maintain top spot with 27 points and extend their lead to five points. Maurizio Sarri-coached Napoli now have 20 points from 11 games.
The fixture took on the intriguing sub-plot of pitting Juventus’ club record signing Higuain against the side for whom he scored 91 times in three years.
However, an enthralling first half saw chances come at an absolute premium, with both sides carving out only one shot on target apiece.
Juventus’ best opportunity before the break fell to Higuain, who in the 25th minute collected Sami Khedira’s ball just in front of goal and got away an effort that was blocked by the visiting defence.
That lack of goalmouth action in the first period however was made up for early in the second, Bonucci lashing home from close range after picking up the pieces from a corner Napoli failed to clear.
But the Bianconeri’s lead lasted just four minutes when Callejon caught a Lorenzo Insigne’s left-wing cross on the volley to guide home an equaliser and his seventh league goal of the season.
With the scores level, the visitors were doing a good job of stunting many more Juventus attacks. That is until the moment that ultimately grabbed the headlines.
As the clock struck 70 minutes, a lofted ball for Khedira was headed clear, but unwittingly into the path of Higuain, who struck low and hard into the bottom corner. Even though the 28-year-old celebrated in a subdued manner, the goal allowed Juventus to get their noses in front for a second occasion in the match.
This time, Massimiliano Allegri’s men were in no mood to surrender their advantage, even if their box led a relatively charmed life in the closing stages, while, at the other end, Higuain may even have doubled his tally on the night with a header that finished wide of the mark.