It's a holiday. Taking 33 years to complete. And now we must wait for a few more days.
In a 1-1 draw with local rival Salernitana on Sunday, Napoli blew what appeared to be a perfect opportunity to win the Serie A championship at home inside the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona on a holiday weekend afternoon.
Numerous Napoli supporters who had already begun to celebrate in anticipation of the championship were disappointed by the outcome.
If the Partenopei had defeated Salernitana, they may have won the title with a record six rounds remaining. However, six minutes from time, Boulaye Dia equalised for the guests after Mathias Olivera had given Napoli the lead 22 minutes earlier.
Luciano Spalletti, the coach of Napoli, remarked, “The guys are so disappointed they couldn't bring joy to the amazing crowd.”
The outcome put Napoli, who had been leading by 18 points, 18 points ahead of Lazio, who had previously lost 3-1 against Inter Milan.
With a 1-1 draw at Bologna, third-place Juventus was eliminated from title contention, putting the Bianconeri 19 points behind.
For the first time since Diego Maradona led the team to its only two Serie A championships in 1987 and 1990, Napoli is seeking to win the Italian league.
Olivera scored soon after the hour mark by heading in a corner from the far post. Then, Dia dribbled past Victor Osimhen, a centre forward for Napoli, and fired an angled shot to tie the score.
These are the psychologically most challenging points, and they drain you, according to Spalletti. “We were a little naive on the goal we conceded. Salernitana are organised and they shut down in defence, which made it more difficult.”
Thursday's meeting between Napoli and Udinese comes one day after Lazio hosts Sassuolo.
Napoli can now claim the championship with a victory or a draw against Udinese on Thursday, and if Lazio loses, they may even accomplish it the day before.
Before the game, Napoli supporters had been jubilant both inside and outside the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona. After Lazio's defeat, which gave Napoli the opportunity to win, they were even more jubilant.
On the advice of local officials, the game had been postponed from Saturday to Sunday in order to preserve public order. However, Salernitana, which hasn't dropped a game in more than two months, wouldn't permit the party to take place.
Osimhen had a few early opportunities for Napoli, but Salernitana's outstanding custodian Guillermo Ochoa, who just competed in his sixth World Cup with Mexico, blocked one of them.
In the first half, Ochoa also stopped Napoli midfielder Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa from converting a chance.
Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, Napoli's master of the dribble, also attempted a long, curving shot that went high soon after the half.
Finally, a deadball opportunity was created when Olivera outran several defenders to meet a corner kick from substitute Giacomo Raspadori and send it past Ochoa.
With a shot that was just wide in the 80th minute, Kvaratskhelia came close to doubling the lead. Olivera was substituted for another defender a few minutes later, and Dia then equalised.
We had to choose between two options. We were aware that the best option was to defend more deeply, which is not something I like doing. After giving up the goal, we changed positions and made an effort to damage them, according to Salernitana coach Paulo Sousa.
At the final siren, Napoli supporters cheered for their team.
We can hear and feel the love quite clearly, according to Spalletti. “This just increases the fun,”
RETURN TO INTER
As Inter rallied from a goal down to defeat Lazio and give Napoli the chance to win it all, Lautaro Martinez notched two goals and two assists.
Felipe Anderson scored for Lazio early on when Inter defender Francesco Acerbi mishandled the ball. Ciro Immobile also assisted, and the Brazilian then tricked the defence to open up some space and score from the outside of the box.
Inter had many opportunities to tie the score until the Nerazzurri eventually did it in the 78th minute thanks to a goal from Martinez who was tumbling to the ground when Lukaku threaded a through pass for him.
Afterwards, Lukaku provided a cross-field pass that Robin Gosens, who had already hurt himself, redirected in with an acrobatic volley near the far post.
After a defensive blunder in the 90th, Martinez scored his second goal.
Inter, which has advanced to the Italian Cup final and semifinals of the Champions League, has only won twice in seven Serie A games.
Inter coach Simone Inzaghi praised the team's effort, calling it “one of our best.”
In terms of points, Inter is now tied for fourth with Roma and fifth-place AC Milan.
Juventus has now lost four straight league games. In addition, despite having advanced to the Europa League's last four, the Bianconeri were defeated by Inter in the semifinals of the Italian Cup.
Lukasz Skorupski, the custodian for Bologna, had numerous additional challenging saves in addition to stopping Arkadiusz Milik's weak penalty effort in the first half.
Near the halfway point, Milik tied the score.
In addition, Cremonese and Hellas Verona drew 1-1, Sassuolo defeated Empoli 2-1, while Fiorentina thrashed last-place Sampdoria 5-0.