Napoli thought they had done enough to win this, but never-say-die Catania fought back from 2-0 down to snatch a point at the San Paolo.
The Partenopei swept through to the Coppa Italia Final on Wednesday by beating Siena, but Walter Mazzarri warned fatigue was an issue. Christian Maggio, Miguel Angel Britos and Marco Donadel were all injured, while Gokhan Inler and Paolo Cannavaro rested. Catania have been revelations this season under Vincenzo Montella and could even push for a place in Europe. Marco Motta, Marco Biagianti, David Suazo and Alessandro Potenza failed to make the trip, but they switched to a 3-5-2 system.
Juan Pablo Carrizo had to flap an Ezequiel Lavezzi free kick off the head of Hugo Campagnaro at the back post. Federico Fernandez did get to a cross in the same position, but Carrizo smothered on the ground.
Marek Hamsik’s header was off target under pressure from the Catania goalkeeper, then Carrizo flew to pluck a Walter Gargano screamer out of the air.
Catania had penalty appeals when Gonzalo Bergessio fell while trying to turn Salvatore Aronica, but the referee waved play on. Replays suggest the Elefantini had reason to protest.
Carrizo was again at full stretch to palm away a Hamsik left-foot rocket, while the Slovak couldn’t get hold of an Edinson Cavani chipped pass squeezed between two defenders.
In the second half Bergessio won back possession only for teammate Alejandro Gomez to blast over the bar with only Morgan De Sanctis to beat, wasting a golden opportunity for Catania.
Cavani and Almiron skimmed the bar, but Cavani really should’ve put Napoli in front on the hour mark. Substitute Goran Pandev threaded through to break the offside trap only for El Matador’s chip to go wide of an open goal with Carrizo off his line.
The goal arrived moments later when Blerim Dzemaili unleashed an absolute blockbuster into the far top corner that Carrizo simply could not keep out despite getting a hand to the powerful right-foot strike.
However, De Sanctis almost gave away an equaliser for Catania when fumbling a cross and was extremely fortunate Aronica was back there for a goalline clearance.
Cavani made up for his earlier error by doubling Napoli’s lead at the San Paolo. There were suspicions of offside when he ran on to Pandev’s pass and the first angled drive thumped the inside of the far post, but ricocheted back out for El Matador to tap in.
Pandev also thought he’d got another Napoli goal when bursting down the left, but the angled daisy-cutter beat the goalkeeper only to come off the far post.
Catania pulled one back from a corner, as Nicolas Spolli rose from the penalty spot for a looping header into the top corner.
Dzemaili sprung the offside trap with the Catania defence static and went round Carrizo, but couldn’t keep his finish on target from a tight angle.
However, Catania incredibly came back from 2-0 down to snatch a 2-2 draw at the silenced San Paolo! It was another corner and this time Davide Lanzafame bundled the ball over the line from six yards, controlling with a mixture of head, chest and possibly arm before getting his shot away. Lanzafame had only been on the pitch for 120 seconds, but wrestled his way in front of Camilo Zuniga.
See the latest Serie A predictions and betting tips with Eurotips.co.uk