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Juventus’ dreadful start continues as Napoli claim comeback win

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(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.

The hosts 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.

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.

Massimiliano Allegri said he will not reprimand his Juventus players for surrendering the lead in their 2-1 defeat at Napoli on Saturday, a result that leaves the Turin club without a victory after three Serie A games.

Allegri’s side have started the season in poor form, drawing with Udinese and suffering a shock defeat against newly promoted Empoli before their loss in Naples.

But with a Champions League opener away to Malmo and a league clash against AC Milan coming up in the next week, Allegri insisted he is not overly concerned about his team’s performances.

“I have nothing to reproach my players about,” he told DAZN.

“Against Empoli we played a frenetic game. This time errors affected us and we lost too many balls. We can only continue to work.

“I have been through worse moments. Right now what counts is the game on Tuesday, we need to play a great match against Malmo and then we will face Milan.

“I am sorry because tonight the game was going the right way. We have conceded five goals and we have done that through our own mistakes.”

Juve goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny was at fault for Napoli’s equaliser as he tamely palmed a shot into the path of Matteo Politano for a tap-in, continuing a poor run of form for the Poland international.

“He is a great goalkeeper and he will be the first choice at Juventus, also on Tuesday in the Champions League,” Allegri said.

“He made some good saves before that, even though Napoli did not shoot much. He was doing well tonight, but then there was that ball that escaped him.”

Reuters

Photo Kalidou Koulibaly (2-R) of Napoli scores the 2-1 goal during the Italian Serie A soccer match SSC Napoli vs Juventus FC at Diego Armando Maradona Stadium in Naples, Italy, 11 September 2021. EPA-EFE/CIRO FUSCO