Lorenzo Insigne scored his debut Serie A goal to keep Napoli’s 100 per cent record, but it was harder than expected against plucky Parma.
The Partenopei had the chance to stay top of the table after back-to-back wins over Palermo and Fiorentina. The Stadio San Paolo pitch had been relaid and treated since the disastrous sand-pit farrago of two weeks ago, so grass was finally visible on the turf, although it was very bobbly.
Miguel Angel Britos was injured, but Goran Pandev available after his two-match ban, sending Lorenzo Insigne back to the bench. Roberto Donadoni faced the club that sacked him some years ago, but Parma missed both Amauri and Jonathan Biabiany, so Sotiris Ninis was picked ahead of Dorlan Pabon. The Ducali had a strong record in Naples, winning two of their previous three visits.
Walter Mazzarri marked his 300th Serie A match and within 90 seconds they had found a breakthrough. Pandev ran on to a smart through ball and Antonio Mirante brought him down with a clumsy intervention. A penalty was inevitable and Edinson Cavani stepped up to beat the goalkeeper despite Mirante guessing the right angle.
Cavani drilled wide and Gabriel Paletta couldn’t keep his header on target from a corner, while Morgan De Sanctis had his palms stung by a Massimo Gobbi cross-shot at the near stick.
Mirante parried a Pandev free kick, but Parma were increasingly dangerous from set plays. Salvatore Aronica risked scoring an own goal, hurting his ankle in the process, and from that corner Alessandro Lucarelli’s header was well held.
However, Napoli doubled their lead with a classic counter-attack. The Three Tenors combined, as Cavani sent Marek Hamsik down the right and he rolled across for an unmarked Pandev to tap in.
It was nearly 3-0, as Blerim Dzemaili’s free kick went round the wall to crack against the upright.
Parma did not deserve to be 2-0 down and pulled one back on the stroke of half-time. Marco Parolo’s header from a Ninis cross looped into the air and dipped into the far top corner with De Sanctis stranded.
It wasn’t over yet, as the Ducali almost equalised in stoppages with Daniele Galloppa’s angled drive whistling wide.
Napoli should’ve got a third after the restart, but Pandev anticipated Cavani on the end of Christian Maggio’s cross when both were unmarked.
The Parma offside trap was chaotic and regularly sprung in midfield, leading to a series of counter-attacks, but Mirante parried from point-blank range on Cavani and Gokhan Inler fired over the bar.
Napoli were under pressure, but gave themselves a safety net when Pandev’s reverse pass sent substitute Lorenzo Insigne clear and the youngster kept his cool to finish off with his debut Serie A goal.
Belfodil did not do the same, as the Frenchman incredibly prodded wide of an open goal from six yards!