Lorenzo Insigne scored a magnificent goal and set up another for Marek Hamsik, seeing off Torino 2-1.
The Partenopei ended the year one point off leaders Inter and with only two defeats in all competition this season, one of them being the opener at Sassuolo. Toro, on the other hand, were dealing with a fan protest after a 4-0 Coppa Italia thrashing by Juventus and 1-0 home defeat to Udinese.
Jorginho sat out a ban with Joel Obi injured for the visitors, so Mirko Valdifiori stepped into midfield.
Toro had only conquered the San Paolo eight times in 61 previous Serie A visits, the most recent in May 2009.
Jose Callejon was denied by Daniele Padelli’s knee at the near post and Gonzalo Higuain blasted just wide, then the Spaniard’s daisy-cutter was finger-tipped round the upright.
Napoli were dominating and opened the scoring with an absolutely magnificent strike. It was a great team move with a series of one-touch passes between Higuain and Callejon, finished off by Lorenzo Insigne’s audacious volleyed lob from the edge of the box.
Maurizio Sarri’s men continued to play wonderful football, as Marek Hamsik’s pull-back was intercepted and Insigne fired over after a give-and-go with Higuain.
However, Torino almost equalised on 26 minutes when Cristian Molinaro found Fabio Quagliarella’s header at the back post and Pepe Reina got down for a great save.
Higuain tested Padelli again at the near post, but just as Napoli looked likely to add another goal, Faouzi Ghoulam mistimed his sliding tackle on Bruno Peres. Native Neapolitan Quagliarella converted the penalty to draw Toro level and made a gesture of apology to his home crowd, his first goal since September.
Higuain spun on the spot to blast over and Hamsik marked his 300th Serie A appearance with a goal, running on to Insigne’s slide-rule pass to beat Padelli from the tightest of angles.
Kalidou Koulibaly risked an own goal by intercepting a through ball for Belotti, but Insigne almost completed his brace with a curling free kick that thumped the crossbar.
Maxi Lopez flashed a dangerous counter across the face of goal after Koulibaly’s error and moments later both Coaches were sent off for dissent.
Dries Mertens’s angled drive squeezed inches past the far post, while Maxi Lopez didn’t get enough power to a back-heel flick from six yards.
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