Edinson Cavani scored on the rebound from a saved penalty and an offside Ezequiel Lavezzi secured Napoli’s controversial victory in Parma.
The lunch-time kick-off saw the Partenopei hope to continue their fine form of four straight wins in all competition, though there were changes down to Salvatore Aronica’s ban, while Hugo Campagnaro and Camilo Zuniga were rested after international duty. Parma had Alessandro Lucarelli and Francesco Valiani suspended, joining the injured Sergio Floccari, Massimo Gobbi, Stefano Ferrario and Raffaele Palladino, so Stefano Okaka and Fabiano Santacroce were given rare starts.
It was a lightning start at the Tardini, as after 38 seconds Daniele Galloppa won back possession to sting Morgan De Sanctis’ palms with a snapshot, then before the two-minute mark Grava was booked for hacking down Sebastian Giovinco.
Edinson Cavani did have the ball in the net after 17 minutes, but the offside flag had already been raised for Andrea Dossena’s position ahead of the cross.
Miguel Angel Britos was hobbling for some time before he eventually had to be substituted due to a bruised ankle, so Campagnaro’s rest only lasted 19 minutes.
MacDonald Mariga blasted a free kick over the bar, but Ezequiel Lavezzi went very close when the Three Tenors combined and he curled the finish past the near post.
At the other end, Sebastian Giovinco pulled back from the by-line for Galloppa to chest and half-volley just over the bar from nine yards, as he somewhat lost his balance.
To make matters worse, Napoli also lost Gianluca Grava to a muscular problem and had to use up another substitution.
Cavani dribbled into the box and his heel was clipped by Musacci for a penalty, although replays suggest he may have tripped over his own feet. The Uruguayan got back on his feet and saw Antonio Mirante parry his very central spot-kick, but Cavani was quickest to the rebound and knocked in the loose ball.
Parma really should’ve scored, as Giovinco burst forward – when Lavezzi was down injured at the other end – and rolled it back into the path of Gabriel Paletta to toe-poke the angled drive inches past the far post.
After the restart a Parma corner found Jonathan Biabiany’s header, but it was deflected wide off Dossena’s raised arm. The Ducali were furious, but their penalty appeals were waved away.
The Ducali wasted another golden opportunity, as Giovinco spread the play for Biabiany out wide, but he pulled back for Mariga to horribly balloon over the bar.
Mirante caught a spectacular Cavani overhead kick, but it was flagged for a very tight offside anyway. Jaime Valdes tested De Sanctis from distance.
Parma were able to equalise 13 minutes from time, as a low Paletta volley from a corner was beaten off the line by De Sanctis, but only into the path of Zaccardo from a couple of yards. The goal had been in the air, as Napoli weren’t an attacking threat for most of the second half.
Napoli Coach Walter Mazzarri was sent off for wandering out of his technical area.
However, Napoli struck with a classic counter-attack to restore their advantage. Cavani pushed forward and his through ball set up Lavezzi – who was clearly offside – to place an angled drive past Mirante into the far bottom corner.
Moments later Giovinco fell in the box and had penalty appeals waved away, as he seemed to go into Federico Fernandez after a poor first touch. Parma were pouring forward, allowing Napoli to go on the counter again, but this time Lavezzi only hit the upright of an open goal!
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Missed penalty: Cavani 40 (N)