SERIE A MATCH REPORT

Serie A Week 12 - 23 Nov 2014 (14.00 UK)
Napoli 3 - 3 Cagliari
Higuain 11 (N), Inler 29 (N), Ibarbo 38 (C), Farias 47, 67 (C), De Guzman 62 (N)
Stadio San Paolo

Cagliari fought back from 2-0 down for a spectacular 3-3 draw against Napoli with Diego Farias getting a brace.

Rafa Benitez was forced into a complete revamp by injuries to Lorenzo Insigne, Dries Mertens, Juan Camilo Zuniga and Michu, while Jorginho was also suspended in midfield. The Sardinians missed Marco Sau, Danilo Avelar, Simone Colombi and banned captain Daniele Conti. Zdenek Zeman was familiar with the San Paolo, although he was Coach of Napoli for only six games before getting the boot in 2000.

Cagliari had lost their last four trips to Naples, conceding a grand total of 14 goals. It took just 11 minutes for Gonzalo Higuain to add another, as he took the very high Zeman line by surprise from a Faouzi Ghoulam throw-in at the centre-circle. Both Luca Rossettini and Luca Ceppitelli seemed to forget Pipita was there.

Andrea Cossu had Cagliari’s first chance on 27 minutes, testing Rafael from just inside the area. However, Napoli doubled their lead with Gokhan Inler. Alessio Cragno did well to parry from De Guzman, but it came out to Inler for a precise daisy-cutter from 20 metres.

Cagliari pulled one back with Victor Ibarbo’s magical footwork, as he dribbled between defenders in the area to poke in from close range.

The Sardinians took advantage of Napoli’s usual problems holding a lead to complete the comeback from 2-0 to 2-2. A Cossu free kick was knocked on by Rossettini for Diego Farias’ header from point-blank range at the far post.

It became a wide open game with end-to-end football and too many chances to list. Rafael needed a fingertip save to stop Farias getting a second with his angled drive, but Napoli went back in front when De Guzman was left unmarked for a looping header on Christian Maggio’s cross.

It still wasn’t over, as Kalidou Koulibaly was caught in possession and Ibarbo rolled across for Farias to side-foot home his second of the game from eight yards to make it 3-3.

Farias almost completed his hat-trick in stoppages, drilling off target, while Ghoulam’s backheel flick was charged down.

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Napoli: Rafael; Maggio, Henrique, Koulibaly, Ghoulam; Gargano, Inler (David Lopez 63); Callejon, Hamsik, De Guzman (Britos 82); Higuain
Cagliari: Cragno; Balzano, Ceppitelli, Rossettini, Pisano (Capuano 82); Dessena (Donsah 77), Crisetig, Ekdal; Ibarbo (Caio Rangel 91), Farias, Cossu
Ref: Tommasi