Serie A - Napoli brush past lacklustre Bologna
Napoli moved back into third place in the Serie A table after making light work of Bologna with a 4-1 victory at the Stadio San Paolo.
Christian Maggio put the home side in front after just three minutes before two goals from Marek Hamsik either side of the break and an Edinson Cavani strike punished Bologna for a lacklustre display.
At three goals down, the visitors did at least threaten to stage an unlikely comeback as Riccardo Meggiorini headed in Luca Siligardi's well guided cross.
But the night belonged to Napoli with three points enough to see them climb back above Juventus and Roma.
Napoli got off to the perfect start and Bologna had barely the time to soak up the surroundings in Naples before they found themselves a goal behind.
Maggio was the man who punished the visitors for their early lethargy with a towering header from an out swinging corner that left Bologna goalkeeper Emiliano Viviano with no chance.
Rather than look to extend their early advantage, the home side were seemingly content to allow Bologna to dizzy themselves with harmless possession in their own half.
Maggio's opener served to pour cold water on a potentially fiery encounter and a very tame opening half hour ensued.
Apparently incapable of serving up any attacking threat of their own, Bologna turned suicidal and instead assisted in gifting their opponents two gilt edged chances to double their lead.
First, Matteo Rubin's weak chested back pass fell short of its intended target allowing Cavani the opportunity to capitalise, but Viviano came to Bologna's rescue.
But it was a classic hero to zero moment for the Bologna goalkeeper as he too was guilty of an under-hit pass with Cavani again the beneficiary.
This time the Uruguayan opted to tee up Ezequiel Lavezzi whose delicate chip failed to trouble a red faced but relieved Viviano.
With the half drawing to a close the heavens over Naples opened and the Bologna defence followed suit, paving the way for Napoli to finally grab an elusive second goal.
After Cavani had bullied his way to the byline it was left to Hamsik to seek out the back of the net with a deflected left-footed shot from 18 yards.
Much as they did in the first half, Napoli begun the second in exhilarating fashion and in a mirror image had the ball in the back of the Bologna net within minutes of the referee's whistle.
Cavani was involved once more as he forced Viviano into conceding a corner from which Hamsik found himself in acres of space at the far post to prod home for his second of the match.
Cavani looked desperate to add his name to the score sheet and was unfortunate when he was denied by the Bologna goalkeeper.
With Napoli in cruise control, Bologna finally found an attacking gear and after testing the home goalkeeper Morgan De Sanctis for the first time with 50 minutes on the clock, had him beaten soon after.
Bologna boss Alberto Malesani can take much credit for the goal as his two half-time substitutes, Siligardi and Meggiorini, combined with the latter steering a powerful header beyond De Sanctis.
On the evidence of the previous hour of football, a comeback never looked likely and any such hopes were soon quashed as Cavani eventually got his goal to cap off a satisfying evening for Napoli.
Substitute Jose Ernesto Sosa was full of attacking thrust as he sliced open the Bologna defence before squaring to the big Uruguayan, who joined Samuel Eto'o at the top of the Serie A scoring table with a cool finish for his ninth goal of the campaign.