Napoli had to fight back twice to finally beat Bologna, but Juan Jesus, Hirving Lozano and Victor Osimhen eventually secured a 10th consecutive victory in all competitions with this 3-2 thriller.
The Partenopei are the form team in European football right now, despite missing Amir Rrahmani and Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa, with Victor Osimhen available on the bench. Bologna had one point from three games under Thiago Motta, but above all were missing top scorer Marko Arnautovic due to a back problem, along with Jerdy Schouten and Denso Kasius.
Napoli unveiled their new Halloween-themed jersey, with bats flying across the chest, and swarmed all over Bologna from the start.
Giacomo Raspadori skimmed the base of the far post with an angled drive after wonderful work from Stanislav Lobotka and Kvicha Kvaratskhelia, then Giovanni Di Lorenzo scuffed a finish set up by Raspadori and Matteo Politano.
Mario Rui clipped the frame of the goal from a tricky angle when sent through by Kvaratskhelia, but Politano really should’ve scored when ballooning over from 12 yards, set up again by Kvaratskhelia.
Bologna threatened too, Michel Aebischer only scuffing his effort after a corner, then Aebischer came sliding in just unable to meet Nico Dominguez’s low ball from six yards.
At the third attempt, Bologna took the shock lead. Dominguez allowed Andrea Cambiaso to spring the offside trap down the left and he pulled it back for Joshua Zirkzee to drill through a sea of legs from 15 yards.
It didn’t last long, as Napoli equalised on the stroke of half-time. A corner bounced off the shinpads of Gary Medel and Juan Jesus was quickest to react, scuffing in from six yards. The defender was the 15th different player to find the back of the net for the Partenopei this season in all competitions.
Victor Osimhen and Chucky Lozano came on for the restart, immediately proving decisive. Kvaratskhelia cut inside from the left and Lukasz Skorupski only parried his angled drive, Osimhen couldn’t get on the rebound, but Lozano did.
However, barely 120 seconds later, Bologna had levelled for 2-2 because Musa Barrow’s hopeful snapshot from distance bounced in front of Alex Meret, who misjudged and it let squirm through his hands into the far bottom corner.
It was suddenly wide open and Skorupski made a big save on Osimhen’s towering header, then Kvaratskhelia’s shot took a double deflection to dribble inches wide and from that corner Osimhen and Juan Jesus couldn’t find the tap-in.
Di Lorenzo stung Skorupski’s gloves at the near post and Napoli restored their lead when Kvaratskhelia perfectly weighted the through ball so it went past Kevin Bonifazi and Osimhen dinked it past the on-rushing goalkeeper.
It was still open, Meret ready for Ferguson at the back post after a Mario Rui slip and Bonifazi’s free header from a corner over the bar.
Piotr Zielinski was unlucky not to score on 79 minutes, his scorcher thumping the underside of the crossbar at the far top corner.
Zielinski then dribbled through defenders to set up Lozano, denied by Skorupski’s legs, but in stoppages Meret flapped at a corner and was so fortunate to get away with it.
Napoli 3-2 Bologna
Zirkzee 41 (B), Juan Jesus 45 (N), Lozano 49 (N), Barrow 51 (B), Osimhen 69 (N)