Napoli were made to travel all the way to Doha, Qatar, to play 120 minutes and suffer through the agony of a penalty kick shootout in Monday’s wild and crazy Italian Super Cup against Juventus. But for their troubles, the Neapolitans were rewarded with their second trophy of the 2014 calendar year.
Rafael Benitez’s side won last season’s Coppa Italia when they defeated Fiorentina, 3-1, to qualify for the domestic showpiece which every year pits the reigning Serie A and Coppa Italia winners against one another.
Carlos Tevez gave last season’s league winners and current league leaders a dream start after just five minutes when the Argentinian striker pounced on a botched clearance and put Juventus a goal to the good. Tevez’s compatriot Gonzalo Higuain equalized for Napoli, something he’d do twice on the day, with a header from close range after 68 minutes.
Tevez responded with his second of the game — a powerful effort from the top of the 18-yard box — in the 106th minute, but Higuain wasn’t about to be outdone as he created some drama of his own late, late into extra time, sending the game into penalty kicks.
Tevez wasn’t as successful during the penalty shootout, however, as he hit the tiebreaker’s first attempt squarely off the post and watched it ping back into the field of play. Jorginho missed Napoli’s first try from the spot, saving Tevez from potential villain status.
Both sides converted their next five attempts — including takes from the likes of Arturo Vidal, Paul Pogba and Alvaro Morata for Juve, and Higuain, Gokhan Inler and Walter Gargano for Napoli — before a string of misses pushed the shootout into its ninth round.
Simone Padoin saw his attempt saved by goalkeeper Rafael Cabral, leaving the door wide open for Napoli to lift the Cup. Kalidou Koulibaly pinged his penalty off the inside of the left post and over the line to send the trophy to Southern Italy.