Napoli had it all sewn up before half-time and relaxed after the break, winning 4-2 away to Catania.
These sides both needed a boost, even if they were at opposite ends of the table. The Partenopei had crashed out of the Europa League and lost at home to Fiorentina in under a week, while Faouzi Ghoulam was suspended with Dries Mertens, Valon Behrami, Christian Maggio, Juan Camilo Zuniga and Rafael injured. Catania were propping up the standings with top scorer Gonzalo Bergessio banned and Lucas Castro sidelined. They were beaten 1-0 by Juventus on Sunday, albeit after putting up a fight.
History doesn’t bode well for Napoli, who have never won any of their 12 visits to Catania, losing six of them and failing to score in eight.
Lorenzo Insigne had the first attempt within 90 seconds, but Mariano Andujar used his foot to parry. He also had his gloves stung by a long-range Blerim Dzemaili free kick.
However, Pepe Reina ran a huge risk when he rushed off his line to anticipate Pablo Barrientos, but the move continued and Federico Fernandez had to clear Keko’s effort in front of an open goal.
Napoli eventually broke through with Duvan Zapata’s first Serie A goal, as he was in acres of space at the back post to tap in when Jose Maria Callejon rolled the ball across.
The Elefantini were unlucky not to draw level soon after, as Keko’s effort looped up on to the crossbar.
However, the Partenopei doubled their lead thanks to some comical defending. Insigne put a ball into the box, but Andujar clattered into Nicola Legrottaglie, allowing Callejon to waltz into an empty net.
Catania would not give in and hit the bar for a second time moments later with Pablo Barrientos after Napoli failed to clear a loose ball.
Monzon’s first touch let him down on a Gino Peruzzi cross, allowing Reina to smother, while Callejon skipped past Giuseppe Bellusci to skim the woodwork.
Napoli added to Catania’s woes with a third goal and it was the debut Serie A strike for Henrique. The versatile defender hit a half-volley from practically the corner flag, looping over Andujar into the far top corner.
That goal really took the wind out of Catania’s sails and they crumbled, as Zapata sprung the offside trap to place his angled drive beneath the disappointing Andujar.
Keko sprung the offside trap at the dawn of the second half to prod wide as Reina rushed out to close him down. The Sicilians got on the scoresheet, as Reina beat away a Vratislav Plasil volley on Lodi’s free kick for Fabian Monzon to blast under the bar from close range.
Insigne skipped past Mariano Izco to skim the upright, but the game wasn’t over yet and Catania made it 4-2 when defender Norbert Gyomber got his head to a Lodi corner kick for his debut Serie A goal.
It was almost 4-3, as Reina had to punch a Lodi blockbuster out from under the bar.