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Serie A

  • 1 February 2012
  • • 19:45
  • • Stadio San Paolo, Napoli
  • Referee: L. Banti
  • • Attendance: 48000

Napoli 0-0 Cesena: No win in four Serie A matches for hosts after frustrating stalemate

Napoli 0-0 Cesena: No win in four Serie A matches for hosts after frustrating stalemate

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Edinson Cavani struck the post with a header while Goran Pandev had a goal incorrectly disallowed late on but the Partenopei struggled badly to break down their visitors

Napoli's hopes of qualifying for the Champions League next season suffered yet another blow as they were held to a 0-0 draw by Cesena at the San Paolo on Wednesday evening.

The Partenopei were unlucky to see Edinson Cavani's second-half header come back off the post while Goran Pandev had a late goal incorrectly disallowed for offside, but the hosts again failed to produce anything like their best football.

Napoli were particularly poor in the opening period. Indeed, it was telling that the closest they went to scoring was when Francesco Antonioli made a mess of a back pass and was lucky to recover the ball as Cavani tried to pounce.

Cavani was forced to live off scraps in the opening period but strike partner Pandev did look lively. The Macedonian very nearly found himself in on goal early on but he was muscled off the ball by two Cesena defenders before later dragging a shot wide of the right post after being picked out just inside the area by Blerim Dzemaili.

For the most part, though, Napoli were restricted to shooting from distance, which they did to no effect.

Unsurprisingly, coach Walter Mazzarri opted to throw on Marek Hamsik during the break to add some more potency to the attack, the Slovakian coming on in place of Gokhan Inler.

Hamsik wasted little time making his presence felt, picking up a booking three minutes after his introduction before then winning a free kick from which Cavani forced a save out of Antonioli.

Cavani then went agonisingly close to opening the scoring, the Uruguayan heading against the post after being picked out at the back stick by Andrea Dossena.

Napoli continued to press and Pandev called Antonioli into action once more when he jinked his way past a couple of men on the edge of the area before attempting to find the bottom left corner with a low strike.

Antonioli frustrated the on-loan Inter striker again with a wonderful save with 10 minutes to go before then denying Cavani after he had been put straight through on goal shortly before the full-time whistle.

The Partenopei thought that they had nicked it when Pandev prodded home in injury time but the goal was wrongly ruled out for offside and Napoli had to settle for a point which means that they remain seventh in the standings after their latest lacklustre performance.