Napoli put a 6-0 tennis score past sorry Benevento with a Dries Mertens hat-trick and set a new all-time club record.
The Partenopei were fresh from a 2-1 Champions League defeat to Shakhtar Donetsk, but seeking a club record ninth consecutive Serie A victory. Benevento were without a single top flight point yet and arrived at the San Paolo with a decimated squad, missing Amato Ciciretti, Pietro Iemmello, Andrea Costa and Marco D’Alessandro.
Coach Marco Baroni is well-loved at the Stadio San Paolo, because it was his goal against Lazio that gave Napoli their second Scudetto in April 1990.
Allan broke through with the first real chance. He started the move, spreading the play for Dries Mertens and getting on the end of the half-hearted Vid Belec save.
Samuel Armentero made his Serie A debut and within a few minutes already had his head bandaged following a knock, while Massimo Coda blasted over from distance.
Lorenzo Insigne doubled Napoli’s lead, gathering with his back to goal from Faouzi Ghoulam and turning on a sixpence to drill low into the far bottom corner.
A Marek Hamsik diving header was beaten away, but Dries Mertens scored an audacious third. Insigne’s cross towards the six-yard box was somehow met by Mertens’ acrobatic karate kick volley to flick it beyond the startled goalkeeper.
It was 4-0 and one-way traffic, as Ghoulam’s pull-back went past Insigne, but did reach Jose Callejon unmarked to slot home.
Luca Antei went off with muscular problems and it should’ve been 5-0 before half-time, but Mertens blasted over from close range on a Raul Albiol assist.
Hamsik’s curler was also fingertipped out from under the bar and after the restart Callejon’s cushioned volley at the far post was palmed away by Belec before the ball had completely crossed the line.
Emanuele Giaccherini was brought down by Raman Chibsah and Mertens converted the resulting penalty for 5-0.
Napoli continued to get chances, Adam Ounas and Elseid Hysaj having a pop. Ounas was brought down by Gaetano Letizia and Mertens converted the penalty again to complete his hat-trick.