Football: Late Koulibaly own goal hands Juventus 4-3 win in 'roller coaster' after Napoli recover to equalise

Napoli's Senegalese defender Kalidou Koulibaly is crestfallen after scoring an own goal in the Italian Serie A football match against Juventus on Aug 31, 2019 in Turin.
Napoli's Senegalese defender Kalidou Koulibaly is crestfallen after scoring an own goal in the Italian Serie A football match against Juventus on Aug 31, 2019 in Turin.PHOTO: AFP

MILAN (ASSOCIATED PRESS, REUTERS) - Gonzalo Higuain called Juventus' 4-3 win over his former club Napoli a "roller coaster", a fitting description for Saturday's (Aug 31) Serie A football clash between two title contenders.

Napoli had fought back from 3-0 down thanks to goals from three of their new signings but Kalidou Koulibaly's attempted clearance looped into his own net in stoppage time to hand the Bianconeri the win.

Juventus appeared to be cruising to an impressive victory after goals from debutant Danilo, Higuain and Cristiano Ronaldo.

"It was a roller coaster," Higuain said. "They scored two quick goals, that shouldn't happen. We dropped out the game and they equalised but at the end we won.

"It's a very important victory, we have to improve things but we gave our all on the field and in the end we were rewarded."

Ronaldo's first league goal of the season, scored after the hour mark, looked to have secured the three points but Napoli refused to quit.

The visitors got one back in the 66th minute thanks to former Roma defender Kostas Manolas' header and debutant Hirving Lozano further reduced the deficit less than three minutes later when he beat Matthijs de Ligt to Piotr Zielinski's cross.

The 20-year-old de Ligt, Serie A's most expensive defender after his €75 million (S$115 million) transfer from Ajax last month, had been handed his debut in place of injured Juventus captain Giorgio Chiellini. He was also was at fault for Napoli's equaliser as he allowed Giovanni di Lorenzo to get in front of him and bundle in Zielinski's cross.

However, there was still another twist. There appeared to be no danger when a Juventus free kick was floated into the area, especially with Koulibaly in lots of space to make the clearance, but he shinned it into the top corner of his own net.

"We didn't play well at all in the first hour," Napoli coach Carlo Ancelotti said. "The match could have finished 3-3 and it wouldn't have changed the judgment on Napoli's performance, which is negative.

"I would have been disappointed even if we had drawn. I would have made the same observations."

Over in Spain, Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde was equally critical of his players after their 2-2 draw away to Osasuna on Saturday. The champions were without captain Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Ousmane Dembele and fell behind to a thumping volley from Roberto Torres early in the game.

Goals from 16-year-old Ansu Fati - who became Barca's youngest scorer in the league - and Arthur Melo swung the game before Torres scored from a penalty awarded for handball by Gerard Pique.

"We did not play well at all, we were awful," said Valverde. "We cannot afford to let a game like this one slip, we should have been more assertive on the pitch and kept on attacking."