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Italian Serie A

Angelo Massimino (ATT 14,000) 26th March 2014 - Kick off 19:45 Ref: Davide Massa

Catania Catania vs Napoli Napoli

Catania 2

F Monzon (52)
N Gyomber (75)


Napoli 4

D Zapata (16, 43)
J Callejon (25)
Henrique (40)

Italian Serie A: Napoli resist a valiant fightback from doomed Catania to ride out a 4-2 victory

Last Updated: 26/03/14 10:31pm

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Duvan Zapata celebrates his team's opening goal

Duvan Zapata celebrates his team's opening goal

Napoli resisted a valiant fightback from doomed Catania to ride out a 4-2 victory at the Stadio Angelo Massimino.

First-half goals from Duvan Zapata, Jose Callejon and Henrique made the final outcome look like a foregone conclusion but bottom side Catania hit back through Fabian Monzon and Norbert Gyomber.

The Azzurri sensibly decided to shut the game down and successfully put three more points on the board in their bid to catch second-placed Roma, who are now only six points better off in Serie A.

Catania remain bottom of the pile and look set to return to the second tier after eight years away.

The Sicilian basement boys were never likely to worry Champions League-chasing Napoli but that option was ruthlessly taken from them by force.

It appeared Mariano Andujar might have a good night in the home goal when he denied Lorenzo Insigne from close range after two minutes.

He soon punched Blerim Dzemaili's fiercely-struck free-kick clear before watching calmly as Insigne screwed a shot high over the bar.

But in the 16th minute, Napoli plundered their first goal and never really looked back.

After Marek Hamsik freed Callejon in the final third, the Spaniard drove a low ball into the D and Zapata pinged it home with his left boot.

Catania would hit the crossbar through Pablo Barrientos before conceding again in the 25th minute.

This time Andujar's path to gathering the ball was blocked by defender Nicola Legrottaglie and Callejon gratefully took Insigne's pass and found the empty net.

Callejon missed a chance to make it 3-0 shortly after the half-hour when looking for the top corner with a sighter, but it would not matter.

January signing Henrique opened his Serie A account for Napoli with an extraordinary strike that completely bamboozled Andujar.

The invigorated Partenopei fancied a fourth goal before the break and found it through Zapata, who thought he had ended the game as a contest with a right-footed daisy-cutter.

But no one told Catania they had already lost the game during the half-time interval, though, and they promptly pulled a goal back seven minutes after the restart.

Keko had just rattled Jose Reina with a snapshot and Monzon capitalised on the goalkeeper's lapse in concentration to beat him with a speculative effort off his left boot.

At this point Napoli, perhaps exhausted from their first-half exertions, hit the snooze button.

As a result, in the 75th minute Catania managed to halve the deficit against all odds as Slovakian defender Gyomber nodded home from an inswinging corner.

Coach Rafael Benitez yelled at his players to wake up and batten down the hatches and they did so, Francesco Lodi's searing drive representing Catania's last solid chance to get back into the tie.

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Italian Serie A

Italian Serie A
Pos Team P Pts
1 Juventus 28 67
2 Roma 28 53
3 Lazio 28 52
4 Sampdoria 28 48
5 Napoli 28 47
6 Fiorentina 28 46
7 Torino 28 39
8 AC Milan 28 38
9 Genoa 27 37
10 Inter Milan 28 37
11 Palermo 28 35
12 Udinese 27 33
13 Empoli 28 33
14 Sassuolo 28 32
15 Chievo 28 32
16 Verona 28 32
17 Atalanta 28 26
18 Cagliari 28 21
19 Cesena 28 21
20 Parma 26 9