Napoli survived a brief scare to thrash 10-man Pescara 5-1 with Gokhan Inler and Edinson Cavani bagging a brace each.
Lorenzo Insigne faced his former club and Giandomenico Mesto stepped in for the injured Christian Maggio, who was out along with Goran Pandev and Salvatore Aronica, though Cavani was back from suspension. The Delfini needed a boost under new Coach Cristiano Bergodi, but had Antonio Balzano banned, plus Giuseppe Colucci, Juan Fernando Quintero, Jonathas and Manuele Blasi injured.
Insigne’s angled drive whistled inches past the far post, then Marek Hamsik went on the counter and stung Mattia Perin’s palms from distance.
Inler broke the deadlock with a screamer from outside the box that swerved across Perin to settle under the bar. Like his unusual goal against Milan here, the shot took a vicious bend mid-air.
Hamsik got the second with some fancy footwork. Insigne’s deflected effort looped into the air and the Slovak was surrounded by defenders, but allowed to hook it down, adjust and fire home from 12 yards.
Cavani wasted a great chance by drilling across the face of goal and Pescara got one back moments later. A cross was whipped in from the right by Damiano Zanon and Birkir Bjarnason got in front of Giandomenico Mesto for a looping header.
A long-range Valon Behrami effort was deflected just past the upright, but the Pescara goal seemed to level out the game in terms of performance. Another Zanon cross caused havoc in the box, as Emanuel Cascione couldn’t turn and Ante Vukusic fired it over the bar from a very promising position.
Miguel Angel Britos charged down another Vukusic attempt during a prolonged period of Pescara pressure. Cavani threatened when springing the offside trap, but Perin rushed off the line to charge down his finish.
Perin spilled a fierce Inler shot and Christian Terlizzi did enough to stop Cavani getting the rebound, but Napoli were visibly shaken.
Hamsik’s first touch let him down on a long Inler pass, then Cavani was unlucky when running on to another ball over the top, as he thumped the near post from a tight angle. Terlizzi risked an own goal to take Cavani’s assist away from Insigne.
The pressure was growing and Cavani ran on to an Insigne volleyed pass and dribble past one tackle until Antonio Bocchetti tripped him. The referee awarded a penalty, but also rather harshly flashed the red card. Cavani stepped up and buried the spot-kick despite Perin guessing the right angle.
A Cavani angled drive shaved a coat of paint off the far post, but El Matador completed his brace with a sensational goal. Insigne threaded through for Hamsik, who rolled across for Cavani to fire in off the underside of the bar from six yards.
Terlizzi wasted a good chance to score for Pescara and the visitors were denied a penalty for Paolo Cannavaro’s clumsy tackle on Bjarnason as the move continued. Napoli then went on the counter and the referee halted play to book Zanon when Insigne was clear on goal.
Edu Vargas came on and wasted a good chance when he slipped in the box, but Inler completed his double with a rocket from outside the box that went in off the inside of the upright, giving Perin no chance. It was the Swiss midfielder’s first ever Serie A brace.
Cavani should've had a hat-trick in stoppages, but only clipped the base of the upright.
Sent off: Bocchetti 57 (P)