- Bologna hosted Serie A defending champions Napoli on Sunday evening
- Napoli have seen a difficult start to the season under new head coach Rudi Garcia
- The struggles continued as they drew 0-0 at Bologna, with star forward Victor Osimhen missing a penalty
In their quest to defend their Serie A title under the guidance of new manager Rudi Garcia, Napoli faced another setback as they played out a goalless draw against Bologna, with Victor Osimhen squandering a penalty opportunity.
The match at the Stadio Renato Dall’Ara witnessed a flurry of early action, with Victor Osimhen being the focal point of Napoli’s offensive endeavors. In the fifth minute, Osimhen unleashed a shot that struck the far post, brushing Lukasz Skorupski’s glove along the way. Just five minutes later, Osimhen attempted a header but saw it veer wide of the mark.
Napoli’s aspirations of breaking the deadlock persisted, with Piotr Zielinski launching an off-target shot, and Khvicha Kvaratskhelia forcing Skorupski into a save with a low drive. As the first half neared its conclusion, Giacomo Raspadori made a valiant effort for Bologna, bending a shot just over the crossbar during stoppage time.
The second half brought renewed energy from Osimhen, who continued to test Skorupski’s resolve. The Bologna shot-stopper thwarted Osimhen’s goal-bound attempt once again in the 63rd minute.
However, Napoli’s fortune took a turn in the 72nd minute when they were awarded a penalty. Kvaratskhelia delivered a cross that inadvertently struck Osimhen’s arm, which led to the referee’s decision to point to the spot.
Osimhen, stepping up to the responsibility, faced Skorupski in a one-on-one battle. Although the Bologna goalkeeper dove in the wrong direction, Osimhen’s penalty attempt missed the target, a missed opportunity that left Napoli in a state of frustration.
Bologna, relatively passive for much of the match, launched a rare offensive foray in the 75th minute when Joshua Zirkzee unleashed a powerful strike that forced a save from Napoli’s goalkeeper, Alex Meret.
As the match entered its closing moments, Bologna’s desperation for a penalty of their own became evident when Alexis Saelemaekers fired a shot that struck Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa. However, the appeals fell on deaf ears, and no penalty was awarded.
For Napoli, this result continued their early-season struggles in Serie A, marking their third consecutive league match without a win. Prior to the draw against Bologna, they suffered a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Lazio and played to a 2-2 draw against Genoa. These lackluster performances have left Napoli in seventh place on the Serie A table, trailing league leaders Inter Milan by a significant seven-point margin.
Despite their Serie A troubles, Napoli enjoyed success in the Champions League, securing a 2-1 victory against Braga in their recent outing.
Napoli’s next opportunity to regain their winning momentum in Serie A will come when they host Udinese on Wednesday. This fixture presents a chance for Rudi Garcia and his team to overcome their early-season woes and reassert their title defense campaign in the Italian top flight.