In a rare Friday night match in Serie A action, the Derby della Sole would open Matchday 8 play as AS Roma hosted SSC Napoli in a game pitting the team who was atop of the league (Roma) against the team who was second in the league at the moment (Napoli). Roma had won the first seven league fixtures while Napoli came into the game two points behind Roma in the league standings with 19 points and a chance over take the capital club with a win.
Both teams would field a recognizable starting 11 with the only a (slight) surprise being that Goran Pandev started as the lone striker for Napoli over Gonzalo Higuain was still not 100 percent recovered from his injury he sustained a few weeks back. It was a game where Napoli was the better team early as they sought to test and break down a Roma defense, which has only given up one goal so far this season. They came close on two occasions as Pandev saw his 1-on-1 effort first deflected by Morgan De Sanctis and then cleared off the line by Daniele De Rossi just as it appeared the shot would trickle into goal.
The second missed clear-cut scoring chance for Napoli would come from a Lorenzo Insigne shot, which hit the outside of the post and thus deny Napoli a lead they had worked so hard to get in the first half. After the Insigne miss, it would be Roma who would have the better scoring chances in the game as Napoli were made to pay for failing to convert their clear cut scoring chances. Miralem Pjanic would give Roma the lead in firs half stoppage time as he curled in a very well taken free kick 20 yards away to put Roma ahead.
Roma would ensure the three points as Pjanic scored from the penalty spot at the 71st minute after Marco Borriello took advantage of some bad defending from Napoli defender Pablo Cannavaro to be fouled inside the penalty area and see Cannavaro ejected from the game after receiving a second yellow card as a result of the foul. The win by Roma once again highlights the job that coach Rudi Garcia has done so far as Roma have won their first eight league games while scoring 22 and only conceding one goal, easily making them the best scoring and defending team so far.
In addition, this game once again highlights the need for teams to be efficient with their scoring opportunities. While Napoli “won” the possession battle with 56 percent to Roma’s 44 percent, they were wasteful when it came to having shots on target and failing to score on those which were on target. Napoli had 15 shots during the game but only three of those were on target while Roma had 13 shots on goal, four of those were on target, with two of those resulting in scores and a win to stay atop of the Serie A standings.