Gonzalo Higuain’s hat-trick got Napoli back on track, overturning 10-man Lazio’s lead to win 4-2.
Edy Reja returned to the San Paolo, but had a decimated squad with him, as the Aquile were missing Miroslav Klose, Keita Balde Diao, Federico Marchetti, Giuseppe Biava, Andre Dias, Alvaro Gonzalez, Ederson and the suspended Lucas Biglia. Napoli were shaken too from last week’s defeat to Parma, which ruled out any hope of second place. Christian Maggio, Juan Zuniga and Rafael were still out and Gonzalo Higuain wanted to end his five-game goal drought.
Lorik Cana stopped Higuain on the counter and earned a yellow card for his trouble, while Stefano Mauri’s volley on an Antonio Candreva cross whistled inches wide.
Senad Lulic gave Lazio the shock lead at the San Paolo with a well-worked goal. He gathered in the box, spun round to surprise Raul Albiol and smashed the angled drive across Pepe Reina.
Higuain forced a save out of Etrit Berisha wth a right-foot curler, but it was nearly 2-0 for Lazio, as Reina used his feet to parry Felipe Anderson’s toe-poke from six yards after skipping past Mertens.
Valon Behrami fired over the bar, as did captain Insigne on the half-volley, until Napoli equalised on the stroke of half-time.
Belgium international Mertens got the goal, unleashing an absolute rocket from the edge of the box that flew into the top corner with a wicked swerve.
Cristian Ledesma was booked before the break for a petulent shove on Mertens, who was trying to stop him taking a free kick quickly. Both players were carded for sparking a scuffle.
Mertens tried to squirm between a sea of yellow shirts and was eventually tripped by Lorik Cana, who received a second yellow card. Higuain stepped up and converted with power to end his goal drought.
Pipita hadn’t scored for five games, but added a second goal when he ran on to an Insigne ball over the top and let it bounce to smash the half-volley under the bar.
Insigne stung Berisha’s gloves from distance and Eddy Onazi got Lazio back into it at the end. The Napoli defence was caught napping as he burst through the middle and nutmegged Reina.
Helder Postiga had the ball in the back of the net, but he was correctly flagged offside and the crowd breathed a sigh of relief.
Higuain made sure in stoppages with his hat-trick, as he controlled a ball over the top, held off his marker to turn and chipped the goalkeeper.
Sent off: Cana 48 (L)