SCOTT PETERSON - Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Michael Bradley got the start for Chievo Verona Monday night, but the American midfielder could not prevent his team from falling to SSC Napoli thanks to goals by two Uruguayans.
Chievo came into the match weary of the Neapolitan attack, but confident in its own defensive quality. Unfortunately for the Veronans, attack trumped defense on this day, as two costly defensive miscues was all it took for Naples to grab the full three points.
Bradley, who has been a cog in head coach Mimmo di Carlo's lineup since his arrival, got the start again as a holding midfielder.
After opening the match with a highline and putting Verona under constant duress with early pressing, Napoli drew first blood in the 15th minute, when some shoddy marking on a set piece enabled defender Miguel Britos to get to and head in an uncontested cross.
It was the Uruguayan's first goal in his third appearance for Napoli.
The home team displayed some of the attacking prowess that di Carlo was so wary of before the match in the 38th minute.
Ivan Lavezzi slid in a ball to Edinson Cavani, who was perilously close to being offsides, behind the Veronan backline. Cavani took the pass and a touch, lost the ball, recovered it and was then brought down by keeper Stefano Sorrentino in the area.
The Chievo keeper was lucky to escape with no punishment whatsoever, other than the penalty, which Cavani took and converted himself for the final 2-0 scoreline.
Bradley's day came to a premature close in the 75th minute, when di Carlo brought on Kamil Vacek.
Up next for Chievo and Bradley is another away match, this time against Genoa on Sunday. Chievo is stuck on 27 points, 9 clear of the relegation zone.