Napoli threw away a 2-0 lead and were pegged back 3-3 by Palermo as Andrea Belotti netted twice.
The Partenopei were in crisis after two consecutive Serie A defeats to Chievo and Udinese, but Rafa Benitez reshuffled his pack again despite criticism of his squad rotation. Jorginho was the only injury absentee and Gonzalo Higuain was rested. The Sicilians were fresh from holding Inter to a 1-1 draw, but Ezequiel Munoz, Francesco Della Rocca, Pipo Gonzalez and Enzo Maresca missed the trip. Italy Under-21 international Andrea Belotti was given his first Serie A start. Palermo had one victory at the San Paolo, back in 1951-52.
It took just two minutes to break the deadlock, as Kalidou Koulibaly was allowed a free header from a Jose Callejon corner at the near post, having shaken off Souleymane Bamba’s marking. It was the defender’s debut Serie A goal.
Marek Hamsik had a great chance, then moments later set up Duvan Zapata for a curling finish into the far top corner.
Zapata forced a save out of Stefano Sorrentino, but just as Napoli thought they were in control, Palermo pulled one back. Belotti soared to nod in a corner kick for his debut Serie A goal.
Zapata had penalty appeals waved away for a clumsy challenge from Bamba.
Palermo completed the comeback with Franco Vazquez finding the net for the fourth round running. Michel Morganella burst down the right and pulled back for Vazquez to finish from the penalty spot.
Napoli went back in front with the last kick of the first half, as Callejon ran into the box and smashed an angled drive across Sorrentino.
Belotti was in fine form and hit the woodwork from distance, but moments later he equalised when getting round the back of Koulibaly to tap in a Dybala low cross from the left.
Both sides threatened more goals right to the end, but Napoli were eventually jeered off the field by unhappy fans.
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