Spot-on Napoli beat Juventus in Doha to claim their Italian Super Cup
DOHA // Italian Cup holders Napoli beat Juventus 6-5 on penalties to claim their second Super Cup on Monday after a dramatic final played in Doha which saw the game finish 2-2 after extra-time.
The match, moved to December to accomodate Napoli’s Champions League play-off commitments last August, was pushed into extra time after Gonzalo Higuain hit a 68th-minute leveller to cancel out Carlos Tevez’s early opener for the Serie A champions.
The Argentinian duo went on to complete a brace apiece in extra time, forcing the match to be decided by a dramatic series of spot-kicks.
Juventus spurned three chances during the penalties to take the advantage before losing out at the end when Simone Padoin saw his effort saved by Rafael.
“We played a great match and it was even greater because we beat a team like Juventus,” said Napoli coach Rafael Benitez after claiming his 12th career title.
“We’re all very happy and want to dedicate it to the fans who came here and also to those in Napoli.
“All the lads played well: Higuain made the difference in attack, Rafael was decisive at the end.”
Juve coach Massimiliano Allegri said: “It’s a shame about the result. We played a very open game and just couldn’t bring the victory home despite having three match points.”
Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon got the Serie A champions off to a great start in the shootout when he palmed Jorginho’s shot on to the upright, only for Tevez to hit the post despite sending Rafael the wrong way.
At 4-4, the match went to sudden death, and after Walter Gargano and Leonardo Bonucci scored, Juve scented victory when Buffon beat away Dries Mertens’ effort.
However Giorgio Chiellini then sent his weak penalty straight at Rafael, and both Jose Callejon and Roberto Pereyra then missed too.
Kalidou Koulibaly put Napoli within sight of their first Super Cup since 1990 - when a Diego Maradona-inspired Napoli thrashed Juventus 5-1 - as his penalty went in off the inside of the post.
And the Cup finally went to Benitez’s men when Rafael pulled off a great save to deny Padoin.
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Published: December 23, 2014 04:00 AM