SERIE A MATCH REPORT

Serie A Week 38 - 14 May 2016 (19.45 UK)
Napoli 4 - 0
Hamsik 44 (N), Higuain 52, 62, 72 (N)
Stadio San Paolo

Gonzalo Higuain’s hat-trick made history as the all-time Serie A top scorer and put Napoli in the Champions League.

The Partenopei knew a win would lock down automatic Champions League qualification, while Gonzalo Higuain was two goals off matching Gunnar Nordahl’s all-time record of 35 in 1949-50. Raul Albiol sat out a ban and already-relegated Frosinone couldn’t count on Francesco Bardi, Danilo Soddimo or Luca Paganini from the start.

These sides had met only four times before this, Napoli winning four and drawing 1-1 in Serie B back in December 2006. When they faced off in January, Frosinone were crushed 5-1, including a Higuain brace.

Over 53,000 crowded into the Stadio San Paolo under pouring rain for this final match of the season. Higuain turned his first effort wide after Elseid Hysaj pounced on an Adriano Russo error and Allan’s angled drive was deflected off target.

Frosinone’s game collapsed within 14 minutes, as Mirko Gori hauled back Lorenzo Insigne for a free kick and after a few moments said something to the referee, who took out the red card for dissent.

Insigne saw his shot cleared off the line by Leonardo Blanchard, then his great shot on the spin from the edge of the box smacked the crossbar.

It was inevitably a Napoli siege and Massimo Zappino had his gloves stung by a Jose Callejon strike and sensational Vlad Chiriches scissor-kick volley.

Zappino performed a stunning one-handed save on Callejon from point-blank range, while when Higuain did get it in the back of the net he was clearly offside.

Marek Hamsik’s low drive was smothered, as Zappino continued to block everything that came his way.

Napoli finally broke through just before half-time, as two defenders were marking Higuain at the near post when the ball ricocheted for Hamsik to blast into the roof of the net from six yards.

Higuain got his goal after the restart, as Allan dribbled to the by-line and pulled back for the cushioned volley from six yards.

Pipita added another 10 minutes later and it was his 35th goal in 35 Serie A games, equalling the all-time record set by Gunnar Nordahl for Milan in 1949-50. He appeared to be offside when meeting Hysaj’s assist at the near post.

Frosinone threatened to get one back, but Oliver Kragl’s fierce free kick ricocheted off the crossbar and back off the turf.

Higuain had not managed a single hat-trick this season, but he got it in style, setting a new record with his 36th goal – a spectacular chest and overhead kick! He really knows how to make these moments memorable.

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Napoli: Reina; Hysaj, Chiriches, Koulibaly (Regini 76), Ghoulam; Allan, Jorginho, Hamsik (David Lopez 83); Callejon (Mertens 64), Higuain, Insigne
: Zappino; M Ciofani, Russo, Blanchard, Crivello; Frara (Soddimo 77), Gori, Sammarco, Kragl (Gucher 68); D Ciofani, Dionisi (Carlini 68)
Ref: Celi

Sent off: Gori 14 (F)