Higuain fires Juventus to 2-1 win over former side Napoli
ABS-CBN Sports on Oct 30, 2016 09:35 AM
Juventus' Gonzalo Higuain talks with referee Nicola Rizzoli at the end of a Serie A soccer match between AC Milan and Juventus, at the San Siro stadium in Milan, Italy, Saturday, Oct. 22, 2016. Juventus lost 1 - 0 after it was disallowed a goal. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
DANIELLA MATAR, Associated Press
TURIN, Italy (AP) — Gonzalo Higuain scored a record 36 goals for Napoli last season, and on Saturday he scored his first goal against it, helping Juventus to a 2-1 win over his former team.
Higuain netted what was to prove the winner in the 70th minute, bursting into the area to fire a loose ball into the bottom right corner. He was engulfed by his teammates but didn't celebrate.
After a tense first half, Juventus broke the deadlock in the 50th when Napoli failed to defend a Miralem Pjanic corner, and Leonardo Bonucci volleyed in from close range.
Its lead lasted just four minutes before Jose Callejon beat the offside trap to volley in Lorenzo Insigne's pass to the far post.
Serie A leader Juventus moved five points clear of second-place Roma, which visits Empoli on Sunday. Napoli remained fourth, seven points behind the five-time reigning champion.
Tension between the sides increased in the offseason when Higuain moved to Juventus for an Italian record fee of 90 million euros ($99 million) after breaking a 66-year-old Serie A goal-scoring record.
It threatened to boil over toward the end of the first half when a row broke out over a set play as Napoli goalkeeper Pepe Reina appeared to push Juventus forward Mario Mandzukic but referee Gianluca Rocchi calmed the situation.
There was a touching moment before kickoff as Higuain and Napoli coach Maurizio Sarri shared a warm embrace on the touchline.
Higuain had the best chance of the first half when Sami Khedira sent him clear but Vlad Chiriches made a desperate block.
Stephan Lichtsteiner also had a great opportunity but he blazed over with the goal gaping after a mistake from Reina.
Napoli was defending in numbers but Jose Callejon had a shot cleared for a corner while Allan tried his luck from distance but Gianluigi Buffon made a comfortable save.
The only sour note for Juventus was defender Giorgio Chiellini limping off in the first half with a recurrence of a muscular injury. Juventus hosts Lyon in the Champions League group stage on Wednesday.