Lazio dominated the first half, but Hugo Campagnaro snatched an 87th-minute Napoli equaliser as both teams rattled the woodwork repeatedly in a thrilling match.
It was third against second at the Olimpico, as the Biancocelesti wanted to end their run of two straight defeats and the Partenopei needed a win to keep up the pressure on leaders Juventus. Miroslav Klose and Cristian Brocchi are out for at least two months, but Hernanes and Alejandro Gonzalez were able to start despite head injuries for a 4-1-4-1 system. Christian Maggio was only benched after surgery on a fractured hand and Blerim Dzemaili sat out a ban.
Within 90 seconds Hernanes hit a screamer just wide from outside the box and Coach Walter Mazzarri got a little too into the spirit of things, as he needed treatment for a pulled muscle on the touchline.
Lazio had started brighter and broke the deadlock after just 11 minutes. Abdoullay Konko burst down the right and crossed for Sergio Floccari, who had far too much time and space to chest down and pick his spot, firing low from 10 yards with his left foot. It was his sixth goal against Napoli, his fifth goal in six official games this season.
Stefano Mauri was celebrating the goal when he got the ball out of the net, accidentally trod on it and badly turned his ankle. It was such a bad sprain he had to make way for Senad Lulic soon after.
Federico Marchetti spilled a Marek Hamsik rocket, but Morgan De Sanctis needed two saves in 30 seconds on Antonio Candreva and screamed at his AWOL defenders. Giandomenico Mesto was booked for simulation, though he did get straight back up and continue playing without protest.
Marchetti beat away a fierce Juan Camilo Zuniga effort, then Pandev chipped in the follow-up and Lulic needed a decisive intervention to stop Edinson Cavani nodding into an empty net from a couple of yards.
Floccari almost completed a brace on 33 minutes, unleashing a missile from 20 metres that cracked against the upright with De Sanctis well beaten.
Paolo Cannavaro and Alessandro Gamberini needed last-gasp interventions to prevent tap-ins, as Lazio were dominant.
Yet Cavani almost scored an equaliser on 38 minutes, as his bullet header from a Zuniga cross thumped the underside of the bar, bounced back off the line and out.
Valon Behrami also went down with an injury and had to be replaced before the break, so Napoli introduced striker Lorenzo Insigne for a wider role in a 4-4-2. The Under-21 international was booked within 20 seconds for a handling offence just outside the box. De Sanctis flew to palm away the Hernanes free kick as it dipped over the wall.
Giuseppe Biava had the ball in the back of the net again after the restart, but was clearly offside when redirecting the Floccari shot from a corner.
Omar El Kaddouri came off the bench and with his first touch tested Marchetti from distance, while a Gokhan Inler swerver from 30 metres whistled just wide. Insigne dribbled past four players before he ws eventually tripped, as Napoli were pouring forward now.
Lazio nearly scored a comical second on 74 minutes, as Lulic managed to flick the long ball from well outside the box before De Sanctis could get there, but Hugo Campagnaro sprinted back to clear in front of an open goal and save Napoli’s blushes.
Mazzarri threw on Emanuele Calaiò, meaning they finished the game with four forwards, El Kaddouri and Hamsik. Marchetti captured a looping Pandev header and Napoli laid siege to the Lazio box.
There was almost another disastrous error, as Lulic robbed Paolo Cannavaro in the final third only to then aim a weak finish into De Sanctis’ arms.
Marchetti performed a fantastic save to fingertip Inler’s curler on to the crossbar from distance. From that corner, he could do nothing on a spectacular Hugo Campagnaro volley to draw Napoli level.
Louis Saha made his Serie A debut for Lazio, but Napoli wanted to win this and Marchetti’s palms were stung by a Pandev strike.
However, it left huge gaps on the counter and Floccari’s free header smacked against the bar. Candreva’s shot took a decisive deflection off Gamberini to whistle just wide, as both teams tried to win it to the very end, so the draw was the right result.