Napoli’s 3-0 defeat to Fiorentina all but assures that Juventus will once again win the Serie A title.
A brilliant hat-trick by striker Giovanni Simeone gave Fiorentina a valuable 3-0 win over Napoli, whose chances of winning the Serie A took a massive blow in the process.
Before the game, Napoli was only four points behind leaders Juventus, who had to come from behind to beat Inter in a nail-biting encounter at San Siro on Saturday evening. A win would’ve seen Partenopei finish the weekend one point behind Juve, who still have to play away to Roma before the end of the season.
It didn’t take long for the game to kick into action, but just like the match between Inter and Juventus, VAR had a role to play quite early in the match.
Fiorentina was originally awarded a penalty in the sixth minute when Kalidou Koulibaly brought down Simeone in the box, resulting in a booking for the Napoli defender. But after an almost three-minute review by VAR, the on-field decision was overruled and a free-kick was presented instead, but the review deemed Koulibaly was the last defender and was subsequently sent off with a straight red card.
The home side took the lead in the 34th minute thanks to Simeone who found himself in some space and calmly took his chance, sliding the ball underneath Pepe Reina. Fiorentina almost made it two before half time after Frederico Chiesa tried to score from a blocked Riccardo Saponara shot.
Fiorentina dominated possession in the first-half and mustered 12 shots on goal, compared to Napoli’s one, as Maurizio Sarri’s men started to lose their grip on Serie A leaders Juventus and the title. The away side was probably lucky not to be down by more than one goal at the break, with Fiorentina players easily finding space and coming close on a couple of occasions.
Napoli came close to leveling the scores at the start of the second half when a Dries Mertens volley forced a good, low save by Fiorentina keeper Marco Sportiello in the 50th minute.
Fiorentina all but secured the result in the 62nd minute when Simeone grabbed his second and doubled his side’s lead after pouncing on a lose ball in the box from a scrambled corner.
Simeone seemed to be in the right place at the right time and had a couple of opportunities to claim his hat-trick but his finishing led him down as Fiorentina continued to pile on the pressure.
Fiorentina’s determination continued and Simeone eventually found the back of the net for the third time in the match to get his hat-trick in the third minute of stoppage time. The striker timed his run to perfection to collect a through ball by Chiesa and found the bottom right corner to cap off an incredible night for Fiorentina.