Serie A - Cavani hat-trick sends Napoli second
Edinson Cavani scored his fourth hat-trick of the season as Napoli beat Lazio 4-3 to move up to second in Serie A.
In a sunny Stadio San Paolo the home team made the brighter start and could have taken the lead within four minutes. Ezeguiel Lavezzi’s low cross was cut out by goalkeeper Nestor Muslera just before Marek Hamsik could get his boot to it.
Hamsik also had the first real chance of the match when his shot from a tight angle in the penalty area was well saved by Muslera after 20 minutes.
Napoli’s home form has been brilliant this season and Lazio’s away form has been equally poor. Edoardo Reja’s team had only managed to score nine goals away from home all season so when they broke the deadlock it was very much against the run of play.
Mauri did get a slice of luck as the ball bobbled off his leg, allowing him to get past the flailing leg of Paulo Cannavaro, but his fifth goal of the season will be a memorable one.
And Mauri should have made it 2-0 just a few minutes later when a pass from Cristian Brocchi put the 31-year-old midfielder one-on-one with De Sanctis. However, Mauri managed to place the ball wide of De Sanctis’ right post.
Napoli were looking weak at the back and Lazio capitalised by doubling their lead 10 minutes into the second-half. A free-kick from Javier Garrido was turned into the net by Dias from four yards out, which left De Sanctis stranded.
Lazio, who hadn’t scored an away goal in nearly four hours of football before Mauri’s strike, were comfortable but there was nothing they could do when Andrea Dossena scored his first goal for the club.
Lavezzi’s free-kick to the far post was well met by Dossena who headed into the net.
And two minutes later Cavani made it all square when the ball drops to him right in the centre of the goal.
Lazio were stunned but somehow regained the lead when Aronica turned a Mauro Zarate cross into his own net.
It looked like Lazio could hold on to for a win but in such a topsy-turvy game Cavani levelled from the penalty spot after Guiseppe Biavi was sent off for a push on the striker.
Cavani completed his hat-trick just a few minutes later when he chipped the ball of Muslera to seal the win.
There was a moment of drama in the closing stages when Lazio’s Guiseppe Sculli was shown a second yellow card but the referee failed to send him off. The match ended bad tempered but Napoli walked off the pitch with smiles on their faces.