Alessio Zerbin scored a late brace from the bench to guarantee Napoli their place in Monday’s Supercoppa Italiana final with a 3-0 victory over Fiorentina in Riyadh.
Napoli, the 2014 winners back when this tournament had a two-team format, set up a clash with either Serie A leaders Inter Milan or Lazio after Giovanni Simeone struck first in a semi-final played in Saudi Arabia.
Jonathan Ikone missed a penalty which would have taken Fiorentina in at the break level and the Tuscan club were thoroughly thwarted in their efforts to outwit Napoli, who rubber-stamped the win in the last 10 minutes with Zerbin’s quickfire brace.
Napoli were first to threaten amid a frustrating opening period, with Matteo Politano letting rip from distance only to see Fiorentina goalkeeper Pietro Terracciano push the shot wide for a corner.
In the 22nd minute the Azzurri made the breakthrough as Simeone collected Juan Jesus’ sumptuous ball from deep and buried it with a diagonal drive.
Fiorentina needed to change tack quickly or suffer a further setback and they got some false hope when Lucas Beltran tucked home only for the goal to be ruled out as Giacomo Bonaventura was offside.
Their luck appeared to have turned just before half-time, however, as Ikone went down in the Napoli box thanks to Mario Rui and duly won a penalty.
It was not to be for the French forward as he beat Pierluigi Gollini but also the crossbar with his wayward attempt from the spot.
When play resumed Napoli looked to rub salt in the wound but Jens Cajuste could not keep his strike down after being set up by Khvicha Kvaratskhelia on the edge of the box.
Arthur continued the trend of sending shots over the bar as Fiorentina began to probe more effectively come the hour mark.
— Official SSC Napoli (@sscnapoli) January 18, 2024
Napoli seemed content to sit on their one-goal advantage and set up camp in their own half, leaving Fiorentina to chase the game. A revolving door of substitutions from the blue side took any momentum out of promising moves from La Viola, though.
Indeed one of those new Napoli faces made their introduction count in the 84th minute as Zerbin, freshly on the pitch for Pasquale Mazzocchi, took his time when the ball fell to him following a corner and calmly slotted in.
Two minutes later it was 3-0 and game over as Zerbin raced forward on a counter-attack to beat Terracciano with a low finish.