Napoli kept a clean sheet despite missing Pepe Reina, but were unable to break down an organised and rugged Chievo.
The Partenopei needed a victory to stay top of the table, but were starting to feel the effects of Champions League commitments, losing Faouzi Ghoulam and Arkadiusz Milik. Dries Mertens grit his teeth to start, but Pepe Reina was out with a back injury, so Luigi Sepe got his first Serie A appearance for the club since 2009. Mario Rui also had his first start for the Partenopei. It was a special game for Roberto Inglese, who was bought by Napoli in August and left at Chievo on loan, but could be recalled in January. The Bentegodi side were coming off back-to-back 4-1 defeats to Milan and Sampdoria.
Napoli had won their last four visits to Chievo since a 2-0 defeat in 2012-13.
Marek Hamsik’s snapshot was deflected over and Alessandro Gamberini, but it was mainly Napoli pushing forward and Stefano Sorrentino beat away a Lorenzo Insigne effort, smothering the Hamsik rebound.
Jose Callejon’s angled drive flashed across the face of goal to go just wide, but Napoli almost scored from midfield when Ivan Radovanovic spotted Sepe off his line and attempted a lob from 60 metres out, but the goalkeeper scrambled back to take it out from under the bar.
Sorrentino fingertipped a looping Hamsik header over the bar and Piotr Zielinski’s half-volley was off target. Adam Ounas came off the bench and Mertens couldn’t make the most of his cross.
In the final minute, Sorrentino flew to palm an Insigne right-foot curler out from under the bar.
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