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Serie A

  • March 25, 2012
  • • 9:00 AM
  • • Stadio San Paolo, Napoli
  • Referee: A. Gervasoni
  • • Attendance: 44000

Napoli 2-2 Catania: Hosts lose ground on Champions League positions as visitors fight back from two goals down

Napoli 2-2 Catania: Hosts lose ground on Champions League positions as visitors fight back from two goals down

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Goals from Spolli and Lanzafame bring the Elefanti back from two goals down to draw at San Paolo

Two late second half goals from Nicolas Spolli and Davide Lanzafame were enough to bring Catania back from two goals down, to draw 2-2 with Napoli at San Paolo on Sunday.

Blerim Dzemaili and Edison Cavani had given the Partenopei a 2-0 lead with just 15 minutes remaining, but those two late strikes mean the Elefanti are now unbeaten in their last seven games.

With Napoli looking for the three points that would take them into that elusive third spot, it was perhaps no surprise that they started the brighter of the two sides. Andrea Dossena, within the first five minutes, almost found Ezequiel Lavezzi with a cross from the left.

It wasn't long though before Vincenzo Montella's side showed the qualities that had led them to being undefeated in its previous six games. Mariano Izco with the ball on the right-hand side of the area smashed a cross-shot towards goal, but Morgan De Sanctis was more than equal to it, pushing the ball away to safety.

Despite that brief glitch in proceedings, it was Walter Mazzarri's men who remained dominant, both in possession and in chances created. And they perhaps should have made one of those chances pay on 22 minutes. A cross from the right by Lavezzi found the head of Marek Hamsik at the far post, but he could only direct his header over the bar.

The Partenopei were really turning the screw now, and perhaps should have opened the scoring just before half time. First, Walter Gargano had a spectacular shot from 30 yards saved by Juan Pablo Carrizo, and then, just moments later, Hamsik hit a majestic half-volley at goal, which was again, saved well by Carrizo to leave the score goalless going into the break.

The second 45 began in exactly the same way the first had ended, and Napoli could have opened up its account for the afternoon within the first two minutes. A cross from the right found Edison Cavani at the near post, but he couldn't quite get enough on the ball to flick it on target.

All that good work from Mazzarri's side was very nearly made redundant though on 50 minutes. Gonzalo Bergessio dispossessed Federico Fernandez 25 yards from the Napoli goal, took the ball into the area, and played it square to Izco on the penalty spot. His first time shot was a poor one and it blazed unbelievably over the bar.

The Elefanti were made to rue that missed chance ten minutes later though. A loose ball on the edge of the Catania area fell to Dzemaili, and the Switzerland international smacked it first time right into the top left corner of the net to make it 1-0 to the hosts.

With Montella's side pushing for an equalizer, Napoli's counter-attacking quality really started coming to the fore. And it was on the counter that the Partenopei doubled their lead on 68 minutes. A through ball from Goran Pandev played Cavani clean through on goal. Quite unexpectedly though, his first attempt hit the post, only for the Uruguayan to follow up his shot, and smash it in at the second time of asking.

The Rossazzurri would not give up easily though, and pulled a goal back with 15 minutes remaining. A corner from the left-hand side found Spolli unmarked inside the area, and the Argentinian defender headed home to give Catania to glimmer of hope.

And that glimmer became a full-blown beam on 85 minutes. Another corner for Catania, this time from the right, found the substitute Lanzafame, who poked it into the back of the net to make it 2-2 at the final whistle.

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