Higuain spot on for Napoli
Last Updated: 27/10/13 2:26pm
Gonzalo Higuain: Celebrates after scoring for Napoli
Two first-half Gonzalo Higuain penalties earned Napoli a 2-0 victory over Torino in Sunday's early kick-off in Serie A.
Torino's players protested against both spot-kicks, the first given for a challenge on Dries Mertens and the second for handball against Kamil Glik, but to no avail and Higuain confidently slotted both home.
Although Torino felt those decisions went against them, they can have few complaints about the result as Napoli dominated from the start and deservedly picked up their seventh win in nine league games to keep up the pressure on leaders Roma.
Torino, who finished the match with 10 men after losing Migjen Basha to a late red card, remain in mid-table after seeing their winless run stretch to five matches.
Lorenzo Insigne went close for the hosts early on before Napoli were awarded the first of their two penalties in the 14th minute when Nicola Bellomo was adjudged to have tripped Mertens inside the area.
Torino's defence protested their innocence but it mattered little and Higuain stepped up to drive an unstoppable shot into the roof of the net.
Former Real Madrid striker Higuain then took centre-stage as he sought to increase Napoli's lead, firing a 25-yarder just wide and then bringing a fine one-handed save out of Daniele Padelli on the turn.
Napoli won their second penalty in the 29th minute, and this time Torino were even more upset by the decision.
Initially the referee did not appear to have given anything after Federico Fernandez's thunderous volley struck the arm of Glik at point-blank range, but after play had swept into the other half of the pitch, he awarded the kick - much to the displeasure of the visitors.
Again though, Higuain remained cool amid the heated tempers as he calmly rolled the ball into the right of the net as Padelli dived the other way.
Insigne had a great chance to make it 3-0 in the 36th minute when Padelli raced out of goal and missed a through-ball, but the Napoli man saw his attempted chip toward an open goal strike a defender and go just wide.
Torino had threatened little but they twice game close towards the end of the first half with Jose Reina saving from Alessio Cerci before Glik saw his powerful effort go over.
Napoli continued to create chances in the second half with Mertens and Jose Callejon both being denied goals by good Padelli saves, while at the other end a diving Reina kept out two efforts from Riccardo Meggiorini.
Any hopes the visitors might have had of getting anything out of the game were ended in the 86th minute, though, when Basha was sent off for dragging back Goran Pandev after the Macedonia forward had skipped past him as last man.
Italian Serie A