Carlo Ancelotti plays up Napoli’s Serie A title chances
Despite not playing well, Naples side defeat Fiorentina 4-3 ahead of Juve meeting
It is taboo to mention the word "Scudetto" in Naples, but Napoli coach Carlo Ancelotti broke away from superstition by stating that his side have what it takes to clinch their first Serie A title since 1990.
Speaking after their season-opening 4-3 win at Fiorentina yesterday morning (Singapore time), the 60-year-old Italian insisted that they can end Juventus' eight-season stranglehold on the Scudetto.
Juventus, who started their new campaign with a 1-0 win over Parma, during which Cristiano Ronaldo had a goal disallowed by the VAR, will be their next opponents on Sunday morning.
Ancelotti, who led AC Milan to the Serie A title in 2003/04, told Sky Sports Italia: "I took responsibility and said this is a squad capable of winning the Scudetto.
"As a team, this is a responsibility we should all take on, because they are strong, they have a lot of potential and showed tonight a lot of quality, even when not playing that well."
Napoli, runners-up in three of the last four seasons, hit back from conceding a contentious early penalty to win at new-look Fiorentina in a hugely entertaining start to their new campaign.
The visitors suffered an early setback when the ball rebounded off a Fiorentina player's knee against Piotr Zielinski's arm.
A penalty was awarded after a long VAR review and Erick Pulgar, recently signed from Bologna, converted on his debut.
Napoli struggled to get going, yet levelled with their first real attack in the 38th minute when Dries Mertens scored with a dipping shot from outside the area which goalkeeper Bartlomiej Dragowski got his hands to but failed to stop.
In the next attack, Mertens fell over midfielder Gaetano Castrovilli, who was already on the ground, but the referee pointed to the spot, did not review the incident and Insigne made it 2-1.
Fiorentina coach Vincenzo Montella was fuming at the decision, especially after Franck Ribery, making his debut for the hosts, had a penalty appeal turned down late in the game.
Nikola Milenkovic then equalised for Fiorentina in the 52nd minute, only for Jose Callejon to make it 3-2 for Napoli four minutes later.
Fiorentina substitute and new signing Kevin-Prince Boateng, making his debut for the 11th club of his career, equalised in the 65th minute.
But two minutes later, Mertens found Callejon, who knocked the ball back for Insigne to head in the winner.
Ribery was brought on for his debut and claimed he should have been awarded a penalty when he went down under a challenge from Elseid Hysaj, but the referee ignored his appeals and VAR did not intervene.
Montella added: "Explain to me the Mertens penalty. That was simulation by Mertens and nobody said anything. The referee said he saw a foul but VAR is there, so why didn't he use it?"
"It's actually easier to accept errors when VAR isn't being used." - REUTERS
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