Napoli’s underwhelming start to the season persisted after a missed penalty by Victor Osimhen condemned the Serie A champions to a 0-0 draw at Bologna on Sunday.
The Nigerian striker fired his penalty wide of the target in the 72nd minute after Khvicha Kvaratskhelia’s deflected cross had struck the arm of substitute Riccardo Calafiori.
After a run of two wins, a defeat and two draws, the champions are languishing in seventh place in the standings and trail leaders Inter Milan by seven points. Bologna are 11th with six points.
Napoli manager Rudi Garcia tried to remain positive despite the result.
“The negative element is the result, but the performance was good, especially in the first half,” he told DAZN.
“We had some tactics that worked but are not entirely happy because there is no victory.”
In the first half, Osimhen missed a chance to put Napoli ahead in the fifth minute when he struck the post. Kvaratskhelia had a chance to follow up but rolled the rebound wide from a tight angle.
Both Kvaratskhelia and Osimhen were eventually substituted as the match neared its end, with the latter appearing to protest the decision and shouting at Garcia before coming off the pitch.
However, the French manager downplayed the situation.
“Even the greatest players in the history of football miss penalties. As for when he (Osimhen) went off, we talked about that, what I say to my players remains in the locker room,” Garcia said.
“When we have this much quality, we can’t always have 90 minutes with the same men, especially as we have four games in nine days.”
During a tense finale, Napoli’s Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa blocked a Bologna shot with his arm inside the penalty box. The referee initially awarded a penalty but reversed his decision upon learning of an earlier infringement.
Napoli next play Udinese at home on Wednesday.