Covered a fatal pass miss with a defense worthy of being featured in a ‘special video’. Kim Min-jae, who is capable of quick defensive transitions, is the biggest reason Napoli can maintain a high defensive line.
Napoli won a 3-0 victory over Spezia in the 21st round of Italian Serie A in the 2022-23 season held at Stadio Alberto Pico in La Spezia, Italy at 20:30 pm (Korean time) on the 5th. Napoli maintained a gap with Inter Milan (43 points) in second place with 56 points.
won again Napoli comfortably overcame Spezia with Hvica Kvarachhelia’s penalty kick and Victor Osimen’s multi-goal. Spezia occasionally threatened Napoli’s goal with sharp counter-attacks, but the defense faltered and collapsed.
Napoli’s defense was strong on this day as well. Football statistics media ‘Foot Mob’ and ‘Sofa Score’ gave all the defenses, including the goalkeeper, a rating of 7 or higher, and evaluated that they did their part to keep the victory. Local media outlets in Italy also acknowledged the defense’s contributions by giving them more than 6 points, which is the standard for a ‘good player’.
Kim Min-jae also performed well. Kim Min-jae played an important role in the build-up on this day with a pass success rate of 90% (70/78), one key pass, and three successful long balls. He also performed well defensively, with a 100% (2/2) mid-air duel success rate, 1 clearing, and 1 interception.
The highlight came in the 28th minute of the first half. Kim Min-jae attempted a forward pass to a player in front, but the opponent quickly cut it. It was a mistake in the Napoli camp, so it was a situation where they could give one-on-one chances if they made a mistake.
Kim Min-jae turned his crisis into a ‘defense special’. He immediately cut off the ball with his foot to stop the first counterattack, and then cut the opponent’s roving through pass with an animalistic header. Afterwards, another penetrating pass from the opponent took the space first with quick feet, and then sent the ball out of the goal line to finish the defensive situation. 메이저놀이터
This scene showed Kim Min-jae’s defensive ability and why Napoli can maintain a high defensive line this season at the same time. Because there is Kim Min-jae, who calmly and quickly switches to defense even in the case of mistakes, and eliminates the crisis, he can fully take the risk that Napoli will give up space and play aggressive football.
You can see this just by looking at the heatmap. On this day, it can be seen that Kim Min-jae (below) and Amir Rahmani are located closer to the half line than the penalty box. In fact, it is not uncommon for both players to cross over the half line during the game.
Coach Luciano Spalletti also believes in them and sets the defensive line high. In an interview after the last 5-1 victory over Juventus, he praised the two center backs’ amazing defensive abilities, saying, “Kim Min-jae and Rahmani are not afraid no matter how high they are. They try to get the ball back immediately if they lose it.”
Although it came from a mistake, Kim Min-jae proved why he became the core of Napoli by completely stopping his opponent’s counterattack with his defense. With Kim Min-jae, Napoli is continuing its endless high-altitude march.