Allan finished off a wonderful Napoli team move, but that proved enough to squeeze past SPAL and set a new all-time club record.
The Partenopei made it clear they were focusing on the Scudetto, using a second-string side in Thursday’s 3-1 home defeat to RB Leipzig in the Europa League. Vlad Chiriches, Faouzi Ghoulam and Arkadiusz Milik were still unavailable, while SPAL missed Thiago Cionek, Marco Borriello, Eros Schiavon and suspended Federico Mattiello.
This was their ninth consecutive Serie A victory, something the club from the Stadio San Paolo had never previously achieved.
Within four minutes, Lorenzo Insigne’s trademark right-foot curler had bounced off the inside of the far post and into Alex Meret’s arms.
Napoli did break the deadlock soon after with a magnificent team goal. It was all one-touch football between Jorginho, Jose Callejon and Allan until the Brazilian drilled in low at the near bottom corner.
Callejon almost added a second, his volley at the back post stinging Alex Meret’s gloves. There was a Pepe Reina save before the break, denying Federico Viviani from distance.
As time wore on, the hosts weren’t quite as enthusiastic or eager to prove themselves and took their foot off the gas, prompting a nervous reaction rom the crowd. Mertens tested Meret at the near stick and Napoli thought they had doubled their lead when Allan’s cross found Hamsik for a header, but after a couple of minutes – and his yellow card for over-celebrating when smashing the corner flag – it was disallowed for his offside position.
Raul Albiol missed a sitter, completely miskicking on a corner from close range, and a Mertens free kick skimmed the upright, but SPAL threw on strikers Sergio Floccari and Alberto Paloschi to keep the pressure on.
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