Coppa Italia: Napoli upsets Juve to give Gattuso first trophy as coach

Napoli converted all of its strikes from the spot to edge Juventus in the penalty shootout and lift its sixth Coppa Italia title.


Napoli players celebrate after beating Juventus to win the Coppa Italia on Thursday.   -  AP Photo

Napoli stunned Juventus 4-2 on penalties after a 0-0 draw to claim the Coppa Italia on Wednesday and bring its fiery coach Gennaro Gattuso the first major trophy of his managerial career.

Paulo Dybala and Danilo missed Juve's first two efforts in the shootout while Napoli converted all its attempts to win the trophy for the sixth time and end Juve's hopes of securing the treble this season.

It was the first title to be settled in the Italian season which has just restarted after a three-month hiatus because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Although it had been planned for the players to collect their own medals in a “self-service” ceremony, the Napoli players received theirs from the respective club presidents Aurelio De Laurentiis and Andrea Agnelli.

It was a remarkable achievement for 42-year-old Gattuso, who took over Napoli in December with the team in disarray after the players had rebelled against a week-long training camp imposed on them by De Laurentiis.

Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo reacts after missing a chance. The Juventus star endured a frustrating evening.   -  AP Photo

“Football has given me so much and that is why I have so much passion for it,” Gattuso said. “It's something I can't let go of, not even for a second.”

“Those of who have this job must have respect for it because we're lucky. I want to see people who put passion into it, I want a sense of belonging and respect.”

Napoli could have won without penalties but was defied by an outstanding double save from Gianluigi Buffon in stoppage time.

The 42-year-old Juventus goalkeeper blocked Nikola Maksimovic's powerful header and turned Eljif Elmas' effort from the rebound onto the post from point-blank range.

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Napoli had the best chances throughout the game while Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo saw little of the ball and had a frustrating evening.

Lorenzo Insigne hit the post with a 30-metre free kick in the first half and saw another effort stopped by Buffon, while Arkadiusz Milik could also have won it for Napoli but sent a shot over the bar.

Juventus, which has drawn both its games 0-0 since the restart, leads Serie A, in which it is chasing a ninth successive title. Both teams are still in the Champions League.

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