Serie A - Napoli hit back to sink Parma
Napoli hit back from a goal down to win 3-1 at Parma and strengthen their prospects of Champions League football next season.
After leading 1-0 at half-time thanks to a superb volley from Raffaele Palladino, Parma shot themselves in the foot in spectacular fashion during 10 second half minutes which saw them concede two goals and lose midfielder Daniele Galloppa to a straight red card for a high tackle.
Christian Maggio put the result beyond any doubt late on with a tidy low finish after more calamitous defending from Parma, who now lie 16th, just one point clear of the relegation zone. Napoli, meanwhile, leapfrog Udinese into third place, just a point behind champions Internazionale.
On a rain-soaked night in Northern Italy, Parma had begun strongly with Palladino rifling a low shot past the far post in just the third minute, moments before stinging the palms of Morgan De Sanctis with a well-struck shot from the edge of the area.
Napoli’s midfield then took control thanks to some energetic pressing and slick passing, but were stunned when Edinson Cavani’s headed clearance from a corner fell to Palladino on the half-hour mark, and the striker struck a thunderous first-time volley past De Sanctis.
Alessandro Lucarelli was called upon to make a superb defensive clearance from Marek Hamsik’s dangerous inswinging cross at the end of the half, though that was perhaps the last time any of the home side’s defenders distinguished themselves, as they endured a terrible second half.
First Ezequiel Lavezzi ghosted past the static Galloppa to charge into the area, before squaring the ball for Hamsik to tap home from close range.
Parma’s claims for offside may have been valid, but they had only themselves to blame four mintues later when Lavezzi played a fine one-two with Hamsik, before once again charging into the penalty area unchallenged to tuck the ball coolly past the onrushing Antonio Mirante.
The home side’s evening went from bad to worse on 60 minutes when Galloppa was dismissed for a high boot on Hamsik.
With Parma forced to commit men forward in search of an unlikely equaliser, Napoli’s attacking players enjoyed a succession of chances to seal the win, though the out-of-form Cavani squandered several opportunities, and it was not until Maggio fired low past Mirante in the dying moments that the small band of travelling fans could begin celebrating in earnest.