Napoli beats Juve to end long drought
ROME - The Associated Press
Napoli players celebrate the club’s first trophy in 22 years on top of a bus. AFP photoNapoli beat Serie A champion Juventus 2-0 in the Italian Cup final on May 20, inflicting the Bianconeri’s first defeat of the season in the season’s very last match.
In Alessandro Del Piero’s final game for Juventus, Edinson Cavani broke the deadlock with a penalty shortly before the hour mark after Ezequiel Lavezzi had been brought down by Marco Storari.
Marek Hamsik sealed the result seven minutes from time as Napoli won its first trophy in 22 years.
“I’m very happy,” coach Walter Mazzarri said. “It seemed impossible to beat Juventus this season. All the squad has done something extraordinary these past three years. Everyone talks about Cavani, Lavezzi and Hamsik, but this is an exceptional group which should be rewarded and cheered as one.”
Mazzarri would not be drawn about his own future.
“I have a contract until 2013 and I intend to respect it,” he said. “We’ll enjoy this moment and then there will be time to think of other things.”
It was Juve’s first defeat this season, having previously won 26 and drawn 16, while Napoli lifted a trophy for the first time since 1990, when it won the Serie A title. It last won the Cup in 1987.
Having waited so long to taste victory, more than 100,000 fans immediately took to the streets of Naples to celebrate. Hamsik had his own particular way of celebrating as he allowed teammates Paolo Cannavaro and Christian Maggio to cut off his trademark Mohican.
“You should never be happy to lose, especially a final,” Juventus coach Antonio Conte said. “We should be angry and this game has to make us grow and understand that you have to always go at full pace.
Today Napoli had maybe more hunger than us. It remains an extraordinary year and I don’t want to reproach the lads for anything.”
Del Piero, who scored in his last league game for the club, has spent most of his career at Juventus after signing from Padova in 1993. He will leave the club in the offseason. The World Cup winning striker enjoyed a rare start and lasted 68 minutes before being substituted.