Napoli fans swarm onto streets to celebrate Italian Cup win

Napoli’s supporters celebrate in downtown Naples after Napoli won the TIM Italian Cup (Coppa Italia) final against Juventus at the Olympic Stadium in Rome. (AFP)
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Updated 19 June 2020

Napoli fans swarm onto streets to celebrate Italian Cup win

NAPLES, Italy: Thousands of Napoli fans swarmed onto the streets of Naples late Wednesday to wildly celebrate their team’s first trophy in six years after a dramatic Italian Cup penalty shootout victory over Juventus.

The match in Rome’s Stadio Olimpico was played behind closed doors because of the strict post-coronavirus health protocol.

But in Naples an estimated 5,000 fans celebrated in the city’s historical center after the 4-2 penalty win after the match against the Juventus of their former coach Maurizio Sarri ended 0-0.

Parades of cars and scooters began at the final whistle and gatherings took place in different parts of the city, with flares and fireworks lit and fans brandishing scarves and banners in praise of Napoli or mocking Juventus.

Most of the celebrations were in Piazza Trieste e Trento, in the city’s historic center, and the traditional meeting place for club tifosi on victory days.

In the midst of the flags, the horns and the songs, dozens of people threw themselves into the Artichoke fountain, in the center of the piazza.

Napoli had not won a trophy since 2014, the year they won both the Italian Cup and Super Cup.

They have won Serie A twice, back in the days of Argentine great Diego Maradona in 1987 and 1990.

The cup triumph was their sixth in the competition against a team who have won a record 13 and are coached by Sarri, who acrimoniously left Napoli for Chelsea in 2018 before joining the Turin giants this season.

Napoli have been reborn under coach Gennaro Gattuso who took over from Carlo Ancelotti in December.

They are sixth in the league table with Serie A returning this weekend after a three-month absence due to the coronavirus.

 


Murray to the rescue as Nuggets hold of Lakers

Updated 23 September 2020

Murray to the rescue as Nuggets hold of Lakers

  • The 23-year-old Canadian’s three-pointer from 26 feet gave Denver a seven-point advantage at 106-99

ORLANDO: Jamal Murray scored 28 points as the Denver Nuggets held off a ferocious late fightback from the Los Angeles Lakers to roar back into contention in the Western Conference finals series on Tuesday.

Murray nailed two crucial late three-pointers in the closing minutes as Denver held on for a 114-106 victory in game three to reduce the Lakers’ lead to 2-1 in the best-of-seven series.

But the Nuggets — who looked in complete control for long periods of the contest — were given a mighty scare by the Lakers in a thrilling fourth quarter battle.

The Lakers had trailed by 20 points with just over 10 minutes remaining but whittled away the Denver lead to just three points with 3min 53sec left on the clock in Orlando.

But just as it looked as if LeBron James and Anthony Davis were poised to complete a remarkable comeback, Murray regrouped to take the game away from the Lakers.

The 23-year-old Canadian’s three-pointer from 26 feet gave Denver a seven-point advantage at 106-99 and he then provided the assist for Paul Millsap to make it 108-99.

With less than a minute on the clock, Murray struck the dagger blow with a 29-foot three-point jumpshot to make it 111-99 and effectively seal victory.

Denver coach Michael Malone said his team — who had suffered an agonizing buzzer-beater defeat in game two on Sunday — were determined not to go 3-0 down in the series.

The Nuggets have already overturned 3-1 series deficits en route to the Western Conference finals.

“I had no doubt we were going to show up tonight,” Malone said.

“We have won six straight elimination games. Everybody always has us packing our bags and leaving, but we’re not ready to go. They’re a very resilient group and they have proved that time and time again.”

Asked about his late flourish, Murray said he had set out to lead by example.

“That’s my whole energy, my whole approach to the game, not getting down if I miss a couple of shots,” Murray said.

“I’m just trying to be aggressive ... but the most important part is the energy I bring when I’m talking to my team-mates, being a vocal leader, getting up and down and pushing everybody so they tend to follow. I just wanted to see them have a lot of fun today.”

The Lakers, meanwhile, were left reflecting on an uneven display which ultimately left James and Davis with too much to do.

James led the scoring with a triple double comprised of 30 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists, with six turnovers. Davis had 27 points, with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (12) and Kyle Kuzma (11) the only other Lakers players to crack double figures.

Murray, who also had 12 assists, was backed with 26 points from Jerami Grant while Nikola Jokic weighed in with 22 points, 10 rebounds and five assists.

“You put yourself in an 18-point hole, it’s tough to climb out of that,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said.

“I thought Denver played with great energy throughout the game. We didn’t match it early, we matched it late. They’re a great basketball team so credit it to them for the win. They played a really good basketball game.

“We were not as sharp as we could have been on both ends of the floor. We were playing at a high level, but were a little bit off in the first half.

“But I liked the spirit that the guys competed with down the stretch to try and make it a game.”