Atalanta had practically all the chances, but David Ospina and some poor finishing allowed Napoli to get a 0-0 first leg draw in the Coppa Italia semi-final.
The second leg of this semi-final will be in Bergamo on February 10. Gennaro Gattuso was without Dries Mertens and Fabian Ruiz, while Victor Osimhen and Andrea Petagna were still not at 100 per cent, so he revamped their tactics for a 3-4-3 formation. La Dea had Jose Luis Palomino suspended and Hans Hateboer injured, but surprisingly picked Colombian pair Luis Muriel and Duvan Zapata together.
Lorenzo Insigne tested Pierluigi Gollini in the opening minutes, while David Ospina had to fingertip a looping Muriel free kick out of the far top corner.
Atalanta had a double chance, as Matteo Pessina ran onto the inspired Muriel through ball, denied by Ospina’s legs, then Giovanni Di Lorenzo blocked the Remo Freuler rebound.
Rafael Toloi broke into the box after a give-and-go with Pessina, doing everything right except the finish, prodding wide off the outside of the boot from 10 yards.
Atalanta continued to dominate the first half, Duvan Zapata shinning a volley over at the back post and scuffing his finish at Ospina.
Napoli finally had a chance on the stroke of half-time, Diego Demme turning on a sixpence inside the area for a deflected angled drive just wide.
Within seconds of the restart, Atalanta threatened again, Ospina rushing off his line for a desperate interception to smother at Muriel’s feet.
Ospina also blocked the Duvan Zapata header from a corner, while Cristian Romero was booked and will be suspended for the second leg.
Diego Demme had to be stretchered off after he was accidentally hit in the face by the football from point-blank range on a Marten de Roon clearance, left visibly dazed.
The visitors were again pinning Napoli back into their own half for long periods, but Toloi hit a fresh-air shot on a corner and Muriel’s effort was deflected by Koulibaly.
Robin Gosens saw his header flash wide from a Berat Djimsiti cross, while Kalidou Koulibaly nodded a corner over in a rare Napoli foray forward.
Napoli 0-0 Atalanta
Napoli: Ospina; Maksimovic, Manolas, Koulibaly; Di Lorenzo, Bakayoko, Demme (Elmas 66), Hysaj; Politano (Petagna 66), Lozano (Osimhen 82), Insigne (Zielinski 69)
Atalanta: Gollini; Toloi, Romero, Djimsiti; Maehle, De Roon, Freuler, Gosens; Pessina (Pasalic 73); Muriel (Ilicic 73), Duvan Zapata (Lammers 80)