Edinson Cavani’s late goal gave Napoli a potentially-decisive victory at the Tardini, closing the gap to three points, as Parma lost their unbeaten home record.
After Lazio lost and Juventus were held on Saturday, Napoli had the opportunity to close the gap on the leaders and break clear in second. Paolo Cannavaro returned for his first match since the six-month betting ban was quashed on appeal, though Valon Behrami was suspended and Christian Maggio out after fracturing a bone in his hand. Parma were the only side still unbeaten on home turf this season and ex-Napoli Coach Roberto Donadoni had no intention of losing that status.
Goran Pandev should’ve done better when blasting over the bar from close range, but Napoli were aggressive and took the lead after 20 minutes.
Marek Hamsik sprung the offside trap on a smart Blerim Dzemaili through ball and the Slovak was at full stretch to toe-poke an angled drive past the goalkeeper.
Parma thought they had scored when Morgan De Sanctis palmed away a Nicola Sansone volley at the back post. Some claimed the ball had crossed the line, but replays suggest it was a stunning save from point-blank range and he just about avoided it going over completely. Fabiano Santacroce limped off against his old club with a knee problem.
There was another desperate goal-line clearance in the Napoli box, as this time Gokhan Inler nodded Marco Parolo’s powerful effort out from under the bar. The move continued and Belfodil was shoved over, but had already been flagged offside.
At the other end, Antonio Mirante needed a fantastic save to keep out Hugo Campagnaro’s screamer.
It was wide open and Dzemaili went on a marauding counter-attack to hold off defenders, but his shot was beaten away by Mirante in a one-on-one.
Edinson Cavani surprisingly wasted a chance with a wayward header past the base of the upright from Hamsik’s cross.
Morgan De Sanctis flew to fingertip an Alessandro Lucarelli strike over the bar. There was controversy when Cavani appeared to be marginally offside – but it was not flagged – and was tripped from behind by Gabriel Paletta. The referee bizarrely awarded a corner.
Pandev wasted another good chance and was promptly substituted by Lorenzo Insigne. Cavani’s solo run was ended by a deflected shot into the arms of Mirante.
De Sanctis did just about enough to palm away a Lucarelli volley at the back post from a Jaime Valdes free kick. The goalkeeper spilled it and Amauri went for the ball, accidentally kicking him on the head.
Parma were pouring forward and got their equaliser. Sansone sprung the offside trap and went down the left, but his cross took a deflection off Cannavaro to loop over a helpless De Sanctis at the near post.
Amauri had the chance to turn it all around, but blasted over when he let the long pass bounce. At the other end, Insigne’s screamer from the left flank was acrobatically palmed out from under the bar by Mirante.
Napoli restored their advantage five minutes from time when Cavani sprung the offside trap with a perfectly-timed run on a through ball, waltzed round Mirante and deposited into an empty net.