Thursday, January 23, 2020 | ePaper

Napoli beaten 2-1 by Parma in Gattuso's debut

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AP, Rome :
Gennaro Gattuso has his work cut out for him as Napoli's new coach.
The Partenopei conceded an injury-time winner in a 2-1 loss at home to Parma on Saturday in Gattuso's debut.
Gattuso was hired midweek to replace the fired Carlo Ancelotti - his former coach at AC Milan - but couldn't prevent Napoli from extending its winless streak in the Italian league to eight matches.
Gervinho finished off a counterattack for Parma to decide the match.
Afterward, Gattuso said Napoli was struggling "psychologically."
"Napoli is not used to such a long winless streak," he said. "These players are used to challenging at the top of the table, so they are struggling to adapt. ... I accept full responsibility and blame for this loss."
It was uphill from the start for Gattuso as Parma scored after only four minutes.
Dejan Kulusevski took advantage of a failed tackle by Kalidou Koulibaly and finished with a decisive shot inside the near post.
Making matters worse, Koulibaly was injured on the play and had to exit with an apparent thigh problem.
Napoli was awarded a penalty in first-half added time only to have the VAR cancel the call as video footage showed that Hernani barely touched Napoli midfielder Piotr Zielinski.
Gattuso put on Dries Mertens midway through the second half and the Belgium international made an immediate impact.
A minute after coming on, Mertens provided a high cross that Arkadiusz Milik headed in from the center of the area.
Still, Napoli hasn't won in Serie A since beating Hellas Verona 2-0 on Oct. 19.
"There is a lot of work to be done," Gattuso said. "This team has to shake off the tension and get back to playing the kind of free-flowing football it did for many years."
Napoli fell to eighth place and was leapfrogged by Parma.
Kickoff was delayed for a half hour after strong overnight winds damaged the San Paolo stadium's roof.
After a long spell in last place, Brescia is showing signs of life with two straight wins since Eugenio Corini was rehired as coach.
Mario Balotelli's club beat visiting Lecce 3-0 to move one spot above the relegation zone.
Jhon Chancellor, Ernesto Torregrossa and Nikolas Å palek scored and Balotelli was a constant threat while also getting involved in an argument.
Both Corini and the fourth official appeared to have sharp words for Balotelli as they walked off for halftime after the striker bickered with his opponents.
Corini was fired in early November but then rehired after Fabio Grosso lost all three of his matches in charge.
"If we're united we can achieve something that seemed impossible," Corini said. "We're back in this race."
Lecce is two points above Brescia, which is 18th.
Sampdoria beat Genoa 1-0 in a derby with a late goal from Manolo Gabbiadini.


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