Napoli feared the Atalanta taboo would bite them again, but they fought back for a 3-1 victory including Piotr Zielinski’s missile.
Pepe Reina started despite reports he would be heading towards Paris Saint-Germain, while Christian Maggio stepped in for suspended Elseid Hysaj. The Orobici were still without Leonardo Spinazzola amid a contract dispute.
Atalanta were the bogey team for Napoli and Maurizio Sarri, the only side to beat them home and away in Serie A last season.
A Dries Mertens angled drive tested Etrit Berisha, but Atalanta took the lead at the Stadio San Paolo when Bryan Cristante was allowed a relatively free header on a Papu Gomez corner, left unmarked by Maggio.
The hosts moved the ball around well, but struggled to break down Atalanta’s defence in the final third. When Jose Callejon did come sliding in at the back post to meet Lorenzo Insigne’s pass, Gosens stuck to him like glue for a decisive block.
Moments later, Josip Ilicic’s screamer bounced off Pepe Reina’s gloves and straight up into the air. Napoli kept pushing forward and were very open on the counter, as Reina beat away a Hans Hateboer header at the back post from Papu’s cross-field pass and Andrea Masiello blocked off Callejon again.
Atalanta introduced Marten De Roon for the second half, moving Papu to a False 9 role, and Ilicic flashed a dangerous shot across the bows.
Napoli kept pushing and got their equaliser with a moment of magic, as a corner came out to Piotr Zielinski, he controlled and unleashed an atomic missile into the top corner from the edge of the box. It was simply unstoppable.
Moments later, Napoli turned the game around completely, as Allan chipped up a pass, Insigne nodded it across the face of goal for Mertens to volley in at full stretch.
Jasmin Kurtic fired just wide of the upright on a Papu pull-back, but Napoli made the result safe in the final minutes with a well-worked team move. Callejon rolled it across for Mertens, who touched the ball just enough into the path of Marko Rog to turn in at the far post from 10 yards.
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