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Serie A

  • 22 January 2012
  • • 14:00
  • • Stadio Comunale Artemio Franchi - Montepaschi Arena, Siena
  • Referee: A. Damato
  • • Attendance: 14643

Siena 1-1 Napoli: Pandev equaliser saves face after Cavani's penalty miss

Siena 1-1 Napoli: Pandev equaliser saves face after Cavani's penalty miss

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The Azzurri dropped more points in Tuscany, but they trailed until late on after the Uruguayan's failure from 12 yards left them staring down the barrel

Napoli’s fading hopes of a top-three Serie A finish were dealt another blow as they drew 1-1 with Siena on Sunday, but it took Goran Pandev’s late equaliser to rescue a point after Edinson Cavani’s penalty miss had left them on the verge of defeat.

Emanuele Calaio headed home at the far post from a Simone Vergassola cross in the 67th minute to give the home side the lead, and Gianluca Pegolo guessed correctly from the spot to deny Cavani 11 minutes from time to give the Robur hope of taking all three points. But Pandev struck in the 86th minute from Andrea Dossena's cross.

Ezequiel Lavezzi made his return from injury for the visitors, but only from the bench as Walter Mazzarri gave Pandev another start in the front three.

Napoli looked to control the pace of the game early on, but the best they had to show for their possession in the opening 10 minutes was a weak Pandev free-kick which Gianluca Pegolo collected with some ease.

Edinson Cavani almost made the Azzurri’s superiority count when he unleashed a low drive from just inside the penalty area midway through the half, but Pegolo managed to get down and parry the ball away from danger as Siena continued to hang on.

Roberto Vitiello followed Hugo Campagnaro into the book for a late challenge on Dossena as the visitors broke once more down the left, but Campagnaro’s header from the set piece failed to test Pegolo. Within seconds Gokhan Inler was caught by former Udinese team-mate Gaetano D’Agostino 20 yards from goal, but Walter Gargano’s free-kick didn’t get past the four-man wall.

Siena had their first real effort of note six minutes before the break when Emanuele Calaio looked to take advantage of Morgan De Sanctis’ slight error in positioning by launching a left-footed lob from distance, but it bounced just wide of the target.

The striker then had a magnificent chance to open the scoring when sent one-on-one with De Sanctis, but after the Napoli goalkeeper committed himself, Calaio’s lob came back off the bar, allowing the retreating defence to clear.

Cavani again came close soon after the interval when his right-foot volley had to be saved by Pegolo as it headed for the bottom corner, and the keeper had to receive treatment after falling heavily on his right shoulder.

Lavezzi was given his bow 10 minutes into the second half in place of Gargano as Mazzarri looked for his side to impose themselves on the game once more. But it was the Tuscan outfit who would take the lead at the three-quarter point.

Neat interchange play took skipper Vergassola to the byeline on the right, and his stand-up cross found Calaio, who tucked a header neatly inside the near post with De Sanctis still scrambling to get back across goal.

Just as it appeared Napoli would leave Tuscany without a point, D’Agostino threw them a lifeline by bringing down Dossena, leaving referee Antonio Damato with little choice but to award a penalty. But Cavani’s spot-kick was not convincing, and Pegolo dived decisively to his right to push away the effort and maintain his side’s lead.

Pandev had an effort from 25 yards deflected just off target with Siena holding on, but just as it seemed their last chance had gone, Napoli equalised with four minutes to go, Pandev steering a header from Dossena’s cross off the inside of the far post to rescue a point.

The result leaves Napoli nine points adrift of the top three in seventh spot, while Siena remain 17th, but are now four points clear of the drop zone.