It looked like last week was the exception, now it appears it was the rule. Bad defending doomed Napoli yet again.
Napoli boss Walter Mazzarri said it best in his post-game analysis:
“Our defect is that once we take the lead, we think the job is done. It has happened numerous time and we don’t kill sides off. We get distracted and unconsciously the players think the victory is safe. That is where we really must improve and make that step up in quality, otherwise we’ll keep dropping points continually."
There you have it.
Another week, another opportunity wasted as Napoli remain at third place in the league table.
Bologna's first goal came from Manolo Gabbiadini in the 10th minute. The next piece of action came when Alberto Gilardino was called offside as he headed a ball past Napoli's Morgan De Sanctis. It should have been 2-0 Bologna.
Fortunately for fans at San Paolo, the deficit remained at one, and it stayed that way until halftime.
The Partenopei faithful were certainly sweating as their side took the field after the half. Their relief came quickly as Alessandro Gamberini leveled the score in the 50th minute.
Edinson Cavani then put his side ahead with his 12th goal of the season in the 70th minute. Up 2-1, it seemed like a move back into second place was all but a certainty.
Panagiotis Kone had other ideas. He scored what may be one of the best goals we've seen in Serie A this season in the 86th minute.
It was a heartbreaker. But Bologna wasn't done crushing the hopes of the Partenopei faithful. Three minutes later, Daniele Portanova stole the one point Napoli were hoping to hold on to.
Reality is a tough pill to swallow some times.
“Juventus are doing something special and I’ve said since the summer that we have to grow," Mazzarri said, via forzaitalianfootball.com. “We’re all on a par now for second place and will see how the season ends, as I don’t view anyone else right now who can compete with Juve. Perhaps things will change, but it’s tough when they’re playing like that. Napoli should focus on other objectives.”
With seven points separating them from the rest, it's hard to argue with Mazzarri's point about Juventus. It would seem at this point, barring a massive collapse, that the Scudetto may be well out of reach. Yes it's only December, but remember, Juventus didn't lose in 49 straight games before their defeat to Inter Milan. It's unlikely they drop too many more this season.
As much as Napoli would love to forget what happened at home against Bologna, they won't be able to anytime soon. Their next game is a Coppa Italia match in which they host Bologna on December 19.