Napoli paid the price for wasted opportunities, as Antonio Cassano gave Parma a shock 1-0 victory at the San Paolo.
The Partenopei had to shake off the sting of their 3-0 defeat to Juventus, but were also tired from international duty and rotated ahead of the Champions League showdown with Borussia Dortmund. Juan Camilo Zuniga and Giandomenico Mesto were still injured, while Marek Hamsik was rested. Parma had Aleandro Rosi suspended with Stefano Okaka and Daniele Galloppa sidelined, but surprisingly picked Nicola Sansone alongside Antonio Cassano. Walter Gargano returned to face his former club.
The turf at the San Paolo was slippery after heavy rain and even hail. The visitors had the first real chance, as Pablo Armero charged down a Sansone effort. Armero was again decisive to cut across and rob Sansone when running clear on goal from Cassano’s inspired assist.
Gonzalo Higuain pounced on a Dias Felipe defensive error, but Antonio Mirante denied him a goal by parrying with a knee at the near post. Sansone dragged another good opportunity off target from Mattia Cassani’s assist and Lorenzo Insigne curled just past the far top corner.
Mirante was again decisive, rushing off his line to close down Higuain from point-blank range. Jose Maria Callejon wasted a golden opportunity on the counter-attack, passing to Goran Pandev when he was offside.
Pepe Reina was also called upon, as he flew to turn Marco Parolo’s screamer wide with one hand, while Pandev fired wide after combining with Callejon.
After the restart Felipe turned over from a very promising position and Parolo’s header glanced off target, while Reina again parried a Parolo rocket. It was end-to-end stuff with chances for both sides.
Higuain had the ball in the net on 72 minutes, but was offside when Raul Albiol knocked on the corner for his header at the back post.
Marek Hamsik had only been on the field for under 10 minutes when he limped off again after appearing to catch his studs in the turf.
Parma took the surprise lead at the San Paolo soon after, as Insigne lost the ball to spark a counter-attack and Cassano picked his spot with a precise angled drive into the far bottom corner. It was FantAntonio’s 100th Serie A goal, so some statisticians have his tally at 99.
Dries Mertens clipped the crossbar with a free kick in the final minute, but Napoli suffered their first home defeat of the season.
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