Higuain jeered as Napoli, Juve draw
MILAN, Italy (AP):
Gonzalo Higuain's every touch was greeted with whistles and jeers by his former fans but the Argentina forward had little impact as Juventus could only draw 1-1 at Napoli in Serie A yesterday.
It was Higuain's first time back at Napoli since his move to bitter rival Juventus for an Italian-record 90 million euros (US$100 million) after scoring 36 goals last season to break a 66-year-old Serie A record.
Higuain, who has not scored in five matches, was largely anonymous.
"Higuain had a good game, I'm happy with him," Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri said. "He should be grateful to Napoli for what it gave him and Napoli should be grateful to him for what he did."
Thousands of blue whistles had been handed out before the match and they were used often by Napoli supporters to vent their hatred toward their former hero.
They will have another opportunity on Wednesday, when the two teams meet again in the second leg of their Italian Cup semi final, which Juventus leads 3-1.
League leader Juventus moved six points clear of Roma. Napoli remained third, 10 points below the Bianconeri.
"When a team plays like Napoli did tonight, a coach can go home with all sorts of emotions apart from disappointment," Napoli coach Maurizio Sarri said. "Never in Italy have we seen Juventus in such difficulty."
It took Juventus less than seven minutes to take the lead when Sami Khedira played a one-two with Miralem Pjanic and slotted past Napoli goalkeeper Rafael, who was standing in for the injured Pepe Reina.
Napoli dominated but Marek Hamsik and Lorenzo Insigne sent efforts wide, while Dries Mertens fired straight at Gianluigi Buffon.
Jose Callejon had the ball in the back of the net in the 56th but it was ruled out for offside.
Napoli's pressure paid off four minutes later as Mertens played in a delightful through ball which Hamsik curled into the top right corner.
Napoli almost doubled its tally four minutes later as Mertens ran onto a woeful back pass from Juventus midfielder Kwadwo Asamoah but his effort came off the right post.