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The final game of the year in Italy didn’t play out as many had hoped. It was supposed to be a glorious send off for Alessandro Del Piero, but although Juventus tasted defeat, it does little to change the attitude towards ADP’s departure. In what was most likely Del Piero’s last game for Juventus, the Coppa Italia final went the way of their opponents from the south as Napoli prevailed 2-0.

It may have been the constant partying following the Scudetto celebration, the missing Chiellini, or just a more determined Napoli, but from the starting whistle, it was Napoli who dominated. For the first 15-20 minutes Napoli dictated the game. Eventually Juventus would get a foothold and the remainder of the game played out like a heavyweight-boxing match, a few big hits but nothing else too threatening. However in the 63rd minute Storari took down an on rushing Lavezzi, resulting in a penalty, which was easily tucked away in the back of the net by Cavani. Although Juventus continued to search for an equalizer, an 83rd minute goal from Marek Hamsik would prove to be the clincher. In a season that saw Napoli finish below where they had hoped , the Coppa Italia win offers a nice consolation prize their fans can be proud of.

Juventus fans can’t help but feel a slight level of disappointment. After such a fantastic season, this defeat is a small downbeat. In regards to Del Piero’s send off, although a win would have been nice it wouldn’t even come close to the excitement that followed the wins against Cagliari and Atalanta. After the tears and emotional high point that was Del Piero lifting the Scudetto at the Juventus Stadium, lifting the Coppa Italia in Rome wouldn’t have felt like much in comparison. All in all it is disappointing that Del Piero’s last game at Juventus was a loss, but all credit needs to be given to Napoli, they deserved it more.

Napoli’s win allows them to lift a trophy for the first time in over 20 years. The hopes were high for Napoli this season. Many expected them to compete both in the league and in Europe. After surprising many by topping Man City and advancing into the next stage of the Champions League, Napoli continued their strong display by winning the first leg against Chelsea 3-1. As their league form remained inconsistent the prospects of playing in the quarterfinals looked very high. Then the slide hit. After elimination from the Champions League, they climbed back to third place and looked certain for next year’s CL. After some poor results, they ended the season in 5th. This boosted the significance of the Coppa. Looking back on Napoli’s season as a whole, an argument could be made that it was a success.

In a day that was supposed to see the sun shine one last time for a true legend, Napoli cast a shadow. They got off the blocks faster than Juventus and deservingly finished winners in Rome. This season, in regards to Del Piero, will be remembered for the joyous moment that saw him lift the Scudetto. In the grand scheme this result meant little for Juve, but for Napoli this is something to celebrate.

Matthew Coccoluto

Originally from Boston now in LA. I work in production but football is my passion. I bleed black and white. Proud member of the Juventus Fan Club of Southern California. Forza Juve, Sempre Sara.

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