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Napoli 1-1 Juventus

Napoli and Juventus played out a hard-fought 1-1 stalemate at the Stadio San Paolo amid a hostile atmosphere conjured by the return of former Napoli striker Gonzalo Higuain.

The fixture was geared around the return of the hitman, who scored the decisive match-winning goal when the two sides met earlier in the season.

But it was to be Higuain’s German team-mate Sami Khedira who would stand up to make the first impact upon the game, finding the back of the net inside six minutes.

A sublime piece of play saw the midfielder exchange a neat one-two with Miralem Pjanic before slotting home past Napoli goalkeeper Rafael, who was standing in for the injured Pepe Reina.

Despite the goal for the Old Lady, Napoli dominated in the early parts of the tie, Marek Hamsik and Lorenzo Insigne sending efforts agonisingly wide, while Dries Mertens fired straight at Gianluigi Buffon.

As the game wore on the boos and hisses rang out for Higuain every time the former Napoli hero got himself on the ball.

Higuain’s every touch was greeted with whistles and jeers by his former fans but the Argentina forward had little impact as Juventus could only draw

It was his first time back at Napoli and the Stadio San Paolo since his move to their bitter rivals for an Italian-record 90 million euros after scoring 36 goals last season to break a 66-year-old Serie A record.

Thousands of blue whistles had been handed out before the match and they were used often by Napoli supporters to vent their hatred toward their former hero.

The hosts grew in confidence and thought they had levelled the scoreline following the restart, Jose Callejon slipping the ball into the net from close by; only for his effort to be then deemed offside.

But Napoli continued with the pressure and were soon rewarded. A dangerous through-ball splitting the field and finding captain Marek Hamsik in an advanced position on the edge of the box.

The Slovakian did not need to be asked twice to do his duty and placed a precision top corner finish past Gianluigi Buffon to haul his men straight back into the contest.

Napoli almost doubled their tally four minutes later and put themselves ahead in the tie as Mertens ran onto a woeful back pass from Juventus midfielder Kwadwo Asamoah, but his effort came off the right post.

The Naples club will have another opportunity to take the scalp of Juve on Wednesday, when the two teams meet again in the second leg of their Italian Cup semi-final; a tie currently being lead by the reigning champions with a 3-1 first-leg score.

The result sees leaders Juventus move six points clear of Roma in Serie A while Napoli remain third, 10 points behind the Bianconeri.

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