Lorenzo Insigne scored deep into stoppages to give Napoli a thrilling 3-2 victory over Cagliari in this incredibly open game.
The Partenopei hoped to put second place under lock and key, but faced a Cagliari side that had lost just once in the previous 13 rounds, winning seven. Morgan De Sanctis and Hugo Campagnaro sat out bans for the home team, while Mauricio Pinilla and Daniele Conti were suspended, also missing Andrea Cossu and Francesco Pisano. Radja Nainggolan returned from his ban and Christian Maggio made his 150th appearance in a Napoli jersey.
Last season this fixture ended 6-3 for Napoli and they started aggressive again, as Goran Pandev skipped past two defenders, combined with Marek Hamsik and fired just over the bar.
Rosati had his palms stung by Thiago Ribeiro and Cagliari surprisingly took the lead. A corner was not cleared at all well and from the edge of the box Victor Ibarbo hit a screamer.
Michael Agazzi knocked a Blerim Dzemaili effort out for a corner off his chest, while Daniele Dessena used himself as a human shield to block Edinson Cavani’s finish from eight yards.
Cavani sprung the offside trap down the left only to lean back so his volley was well over. The Uruguayan also attempted a spectacular overhead kick that was again off target. At the other end, Ibarbo used his pace to blaze past Miguel Angel Britos and set up Nene, who drilled just wide.
To make matters worse, Cavani was booked for dissent and will be suspended for next week’s game against Pescara.
Napoli had the ball in the back of the net right after the restart when a set piece was flicked in, but the referee halted celebrations to discuss it with his collaborators. After a couple of minutes of debate, the official ruled it was a valid goal, as replays show Cavani was offside, but the final touch on Hamsik’s shot was off Davide Astori’s heel. Cagliari Coach Ivo Pulga was sent off due to dissent.
Cavani spun round and his angled drive went through Agazzi’s legs, but he got enough on it to turn the shot just wide of the far post.
Napoli turned it around when Paolo Cannavaro’s strike was palmed away, but only into the path of Cavani to fire in from a couple of yards. Cagliari complained, but Astori was keeping everyone onside.
It didn’t last long, as Marco Sau came off the bench and immediately equalised, turning on the edge of the box to curl a magnificent finish into the far top corner.
Cavani got in Hamsik’s way, so the Slovak’s header wasn’t as clean as it could’ve been on Pablo Armero’s cross.
Cavani thought he had got the winner, but the volley was kept out by an Astori goalline clearance from six yards. It was wide open, as at the other end Murru’s long-range effort whistled over the bar.
Deep into stoppages there was another twist, as Lorenzo Insigne gathered from outside the area and unleashed a powerful shot, but it took a decisive deflection off Perico to loop over Agazzi and into the far top corner. The San Paolo went mad.