Stefan de Vrij had given Lazio the lead, but injuries took their toll and Napoli turned it around to win 4-1, including an incredible Dries Mertens strike.
These were two of the form sides in Italy going into the Stadio Olimpico, as the Aquile were still unbeaten between Serie A, the Europa League and Italian Super Cup, while the Partenopei had a 100 per cent domestic record. Neapolitan striker Ciro Immobile was also facing off with Dries Mertens in the Capocannoniere race, but Felipe Anderson and Wallace were still out injured.
Napoli are undefeated in their last six visits to the Stadio Olimpico against Lazio. Since a setback here in 2012, the Ciucciarelli registered four wins and two draws in the Eternal city.
Pepe Reina rushed off his line to stop Immobile going clear on a Luis Alberto through ball. Lazio’s problems in defence intensified with Bastos limping off due to a muscular problem.
Lazio piled on the pressure, as Marek Hamsik accidentally nodded the ball on to his own post from a corner, then the move continued, Immobile bursting down the right to pull back for Stefan de Vrij to fire home from close range.
Sergej Milinkovic-Savic robbed Allan and sparked an Immobile counter, with Reina tearing out to tackle him 20 metres from goal. Lazio wanted a red card, the referee opted for a yellow.
Hamsik hit the woodwork again, but this time at the right end, as he ran to the by-line on a Mertens assist and beat Thomas Strakosha from the tightest of angles only to thump the outside of the near post.
It was wide open, as Luis Alberto’s astounding back-heel flick was about to send Immobile clear, but just before the break Jose Callejon sprung the offside trap, spun round and saw his angled drive fingetipped inches wide by Strakosha.
Lazio lost another centre-back to injury, as goalscorer De Vrij was replaced by midfielder Alessandro Murgia, moving Lucas Leiva to defence.
Napoli poured forward and had a series of shots charged down until eventually forcing an equaliser. Strakosha made a great save on Raul Albiol’s volley from the corner, but could do nothing on Kalidou Koulibaly.
Maurizio Sarri’s men turned it around completely within 120 seconds, as Jorginho’s through ball was rolled across by Hamsik first time for Callejon to drill into the far bottom corner from 12 yards.
Napoli were suddenly on fire and the lack of defenders made a huge difference to Simone Inzaghi’s side, because the visitors ran riot. Mertens scored from a ridiculous angle, as he sprung the offside trap, Strakosha got a hand to make him go wide, but the little Belgian somehow lobbed it under the bar from close to the corner flag. It was an extraordinary goal.
Strakosha prevented a fourth moments later, tipping Lorenzo Insigne’s solo strike on to the upright. To make matters worse, Lazio saw Dusan Basta stretchered off at the 73rd minute, after the substitutions had been completed, leaving them down to 10 men.
Napoli rounded out the scoreline in stoppages, as Marco Parolo bundled into the back of Piotr Zielinski and Jorginho converted the resulting penalty.