Napoli wastes chances and settle for draw with Sassuolo in Serie A

MILAN — Napoli was again made to count the cost of missed opportunities as it was held, 1-1, by Sassuolo in Serie A on Monday.

"We should have killed the game off, when I saw two, three lost chances in the area when we were 1-0 up, I got angry," Napoli coach Maurizio Sarri said. "We're not in a bad patch but in a period where the results don't match our performances.

"Tonight the team put on a very high-level performance, but we sat back when we could have killed off the game. In that the team showed themselves to be teenagers and not adults, also because as soon as they equalized we again started to press, with the same attitude again that we should have also had at 1-0 up."

Lorenzo Insigne fired the hosts in front three minutes from the break, cutting inside and curling in under the crossbar. The ball went in with the aid of a slight deflection off former Napoli defender Paolo Cannavaro — who had been given a warm welcome by the Partenopei fans at the start of the match.

It was Insigne's third goal in two matches.

Napoli has struggled to score goals with Arkadiusz Milik sidelined until at least February after tearing a cruciate ligament in his left knee in October.

"We miss him, but I think almost every team in the league would miss a player like him," Sarri said.

Milik was signed to replace Gonzalo Higuain, who transferred to Juventus for an Italian-record €90 million (US$100 million) after breaking a 66-year-old Serie A record with 36 goals for Napoli last season.

Napoli again failed to close out the match, wasting several chances to do so, and paid the price when substitute Gregoire Defrel powerfully volleyed home Marcello Gazzola's cross to equalize eight minutes from time.

The home side almost snatched a late win but Jose Callejon hit the right post in stoppages.

Sassuolo had also hit the woodwork, with Simone Missiroli's header coming off the crossbar shortly after the hour.

Napoli remained seventh, four points behind second-placed Roma and AC Milan, and eight points behind league leader Juventus.

Sassuolo, which became the first side to field an all-Italian starting 11, stayed 16th.


Follow the writer on Twitter: @spinph