What a debut for Ballardini: Cremonese eliminates Napoli on penalties

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Cremonese advances in Italian Cup

Clamorous denouement at the Stadio Maradona in the match valid for the round of 16 of the Coppa Italia between Napoli and Cremonese: the men of Davide Ballardini, who took over from the exonerated Massimiliano Alvini on Monday, January 16, surprised the Neapolitan team in the challenge between first and last in the Serie A standings. The Lombardi won on penalty kicks after finding the 2-2 goal in extremis, in the 87th minute, through Felix Afena-Gyan.

Cremonese got off to a comfortable start, taking the lead in the 18th thanks to Charles Pickel’s goal, but the response of the hosts was not long in coming: Luciano Spalletti’s men first found the equalizer through Juan Jesus, and three minutes later, in the 36th, Giovanni Simeone, served by youngster Alessio Zerbin, brought the score to 2-1

In the second half, Napoli controlled the match without, however, being able to find the goal that would close the qualification talk and a few minutes before the triple whistle, Afena-Gyan silenced the Maradona taking the two teams to extra time. In the extra time Ballardini’s men found themselves in ten for the expulsion of Sernicola, the Azzurri put the Grigiorossi under siege but Carnesecchi managed to repel all the assaults aimed at the mirror of his goal.

On penalties everyone scored except Lobotka, who kicked the ball out effectively handing Cremonese the pass to the quarterfinals, where they will face José Mourinho’s Roma.

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