Edinson Cavani missed a host of chances as Napoli were held to a goalless draw by Udinese.
The Partenopei were looking for the win that would take them to within four points of Juventus at the top of the table, and they did so with an ultra-attacking front trio of Cavani, Lorenzo Insigne and Hamsik. The Zebrette meanwhile could move to within six points of the Champions League places with a victory.
Both sides went out in the opening exchanges looking for an early goal, but it was the away side who went closest after just four minutes. A Giandomenico Mesto cross was aimed towards Cavani, but the Uruguayan couldn’t quite get a touch after an intelligent near-post run.
Despite being the hosts, Udinese were happy to sit back and try to hit Walter Mazzarri’s side on the break. They succeeded a few times in counter-attacking the Azzurri, only for Antonio Di Natale and Giovanni Pasquale to hit over and wide respectively. But once again, it was the visitors who had the best opportunities.
Gokhan Inler fired over from long-range, as did Behrami, however it was Hamsik who really should have opened the scoring late on. A superb cross from the left-hand side found Hamsik, but the Slovakian could only head straight at Daniele Padelli.
After the break, it was Francesco Guidolin’s men who started the brighter of the two teams – and they should have broken the deadlock inside the first five minutes.
A superb pass from Di Natale found Roberto Pereyra, but the Argentine couldn’t get over the ball and fired into the stands from just eight yards out.
It wasn’t long however before the pattern of the first half was repeated in the second. Napoli were soon dominating possession and opportunities made, and should have scored on the hour-mark – Hamsik and Insigne though, couldn’t finish off a pair of well-worked team moves.
Still Mazzarri’s side piled forward looking for that all-important goal. But still they couldn’t get that slice of fortune that would lift them to within touching distance of Juve. Armero and Cavani worked together beautifully down the left, but the top-scorer couldn’t tap in from close-range with just 15 minutes remaining.
The deadlock wasn’t broken though, and the match ended in a 0-0, much to the delight of Bianconeri fans everywhere.