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While Ronaldo remains scoreless, Napoli impresses again

Published: Updated:

While Cristiano Ronaldo is still figuring out how to score past Italian league defenders, Napoli is picking up right where it left off from last season.

Only two rounds of Serie A are completed but Napoli is again shaping up as Juventus' top challenger.

The southern club has come from behind to win both of its opening two matches, against quality opponents in Lazio and AC Milan.

Carlo Ancelotti showed off his veteran coaching credentials with a change in tactics for the second half of a 3-2 win over Milan on Saturday.

Dries Mertens was put on for midfielder Marek Hamsik as a fourth forward and scored the winner to cap a comeback from two goals down.

Ancelotti also promoted Piotr Zielinski to a full starter role after the Poland midfielder was kept as a first-choice reserve all of last season under former coach Maurizio Sarri, who left for Chelsea.

"Ancelotti told us that this year every player will be used when he's in good shape," said Zielinski, who scored a brace against Milan. "I'm happy to have given my contribution so far."

Zielinski's first goal against Milan was scored with his right foot and his second with his left.

"Many people tell me I ought to shoot more with either foot and I will try to do that this season," Zielinski said. "When I was a kid, I was right-footed, but my father made me use the left more to get it up to speed."

Napoli goalkeeper David Ospina was partly responsible for both of Milan's goals, meaning Ancelotti may promote Orestis Karnezis for next weekend's match at Sampdoria.

Napoli signed goalkeeper Alex Meret from Udinese in July for a reported fee of 25 million euros (now $29 million) to replace the departed Pepe Reina but Meret remains out with an injured arm.

Reina and midfielder Jorginho - who followed Sarri to Chelsea - were the only significant departures for Napoli during the offseason, keeping together a unit that produced consistently spectacular football last season.

"You can tell that we trust each other and have been together for many years," defender Kalidou Koulibaly said.

"We know that we can turn situations around, but at the same time we shouldn't get ourselves in those positions in the first place."