Soccer-Juventus' dreadful start continues as Napoli claim comeback win


Soccer Football - Serie A - Napoli v Juventus - Stadio Diego Armando Maradona, Naples, Italy - September 11, 2021 Napoli's Kalidou Koulibaly and teammates celebrate after the match REUTERS/Ciro De Luca

(Reuters) -Napoli piled more misery on Juventus on Saturday as Kalidou Koulibaly's late winner clinched a 2-1 comeback victory to continue the hosts' perfect start to the Serie A season and leave the Turin club winless after three games.

It is only the second time in their last 52 Serie A campaigns that Juve have failed to win any of their opening three league games.

However, the other occasion also came under current coach Massimiliano Allegri in 2015-16, when they went on to win the title by nine points.

"When you do not win in football, you only need to be quiet and work. The important thing is getting our first victory," Allegri told DAZN.

Juve were without several key players due to injuries and late returns from the international break, but they took an early lead at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona when Morata curled in a fine finish.

Napoli dominated possession but struggled to turn opportunities into goals, until Wojciech Szczesny weakly palmed a Lorenzo Insigne effort into the path of Matteo Politano for an easy tap-in on the 57th minute.

Luciano Spalletti's side kept pushing for a decisive second and were rewarded in bizarre circumstances with five minutes remaining, when Juve substitute Moise Kean's headed backpass from a corner required a reflex save from Szczesny but left Koulibaly with a tap-in.

"It is a good start. I have to thank Spalletti because he has put together a team and given them a very interesting style of play," said Napoli owner Aurelio De Laurentiis.

"We were always on the attack, controlling the game from start to finish."

The result leaves Napoli top of the standings with nine points ahead of the remaining eight weekend fixtures, while Juve dropped to 16th, with one point on the board from the first three rounds.

Allegri opted to leave five South American players, including Paulo Dybala and Alex Sandro, at home due to their recent return from the international break, while Federico Chiesa was not fit enough to feature.

However, the visitors only needed 10 minutes to take the lead when Morata nicked the ball off a dozing Kostas Manolas and finished well from a tight angle.

It was the perfect start for the visitors following a draw with Udinese and a shock defeat by Empoli, and they twice threatened a second goal before the break as Dejan Kulusevski drew a couple of smart saves from David Ospina.

The tide turned in the second half when Szczesny failed to deal with a curling Insigne effort and Politano pounced to knock in an easy finish.

Napoli stepped up their attacking endeavours after going in front and peppered shots at goal, but they required Kean's misjudged backpass to put the winner on a plate for Koulibaly.

(Reporting by Alasdair MackenzieEditing by Christian Radnedge)

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