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December 2, 2013
• Stadio Olimpico, Roma
Referee: M. Bergonzi
• Attendance: 30000
V. Behrami 26' (own goal)
B. Keita 88'
G. Higuaín 24', 72'
G. Pandev 50'
José Callejón 90'+
I hope you enjoyed that one - stay tuned with Goal for a full match report and player ratings from the Stadio Olimpico. Until next time, folks!
Well what a treat that was for a Monday night! Higuain's brilliant opener was cancelled out when Behrami put past his own keeper, but Pandev's clever finish and Higuain's second put Napoli back in control in the second half. Keita scored the goal of the night with a stunning solo effort, but Callejon struck in injury time to seal the points for Rafa Benitez's side, allowing them to close the gap on Roma and Juventus.
90' + 3'
90' + 3'
And that's that! The referee brings the action to a close - Napoli are back to winning ways!
90' + 2'
Mertens tries to reach Dzemaili's pass but Ciari volleys into the stands. He must wish he'd done that a few minutes earlier...
90' + 1'
Assist Dries Mertens
90' + 1'
Goal José Callejón
90' + 1'
GOOAAAAAAALLLLL! CALLEJON SEALS THE POINTS! Mertens does brilliantly to tackle Ciari and plays the Spaniard through on goal, and the former Madrid man calmly slots into the far corner. That's that!
Insigne pokes Dzemaili's shot on goal but Marchetti gathers. Three minutes of injury time to be played...
Keita again drives at the defence and crosses from the left but Reina catches safely. Can Lazio find a dramatic equaliser?
Goal Balde Diao Keita
GOOOOAAAAALLLLL! WHAT A FINISH FROM KEITA! Just as the game looked dead and buried, the substitute picks up the ball and runs across the area, past three despairing challenges, and fires high past Pepe Reina! It's not over yet...
Gonzalo Higuain applauds the travelling fans as he is replaced by Dries Mertens. A truly clinical display from the Argentine tonight - just what his side have lacked in their last three games.
Callejon is tugged back by Keita and Napoli have a free kick. The Partenopei just looking to keep the ball from here.
Final change for Lazio as Biglia is replaced by Onazi. The Argentine worked hard but found himself overrun in the second half.
Substitute Keita tries to latch on to Perea's flick but Britos nods back to Reina. Another mix-up in the Lazio defence sees Reina's resulting kick go out for a throw-in, with only Callejon anywhere near the ball at the time.
Yellow Card Pablo Armero
Candreva fires the free kick goalwards from all of 40 yards, but it's wide of Reina's goal. All looking a bit desperate for Petkovic's men, here.
Yellow Card Miguel Angel Britos
Britos has gone into the book for a pretty cynical check on Floccari. Armero joins him for bringing down Perea.
Dzemaili will slot in alongside compatriots Inler and Behrami, with Callejon and Insigne in support of Higuain. Benitez looking to secure the points now, and at the moment, they are firmly on track to do so.
Goran Pandev played the pass to Higuain, and that concludes a successful night for him as he is replaced by Blerim Dzemaili.
Goal Gonzalo Higuaín
Assist Goran Pandev
GOAAAAALLLLL! HIGUAIN STRIKES AGAIN! Cana totally misses a through-ball and the Argentine strides clear through on goal, and side-foots with aplomb past the helpless Marchetti. Napoil in full control!
Balde Diao Keita
A half-hearted shout for a penalty as Floccari goes up and over Inler when challenging for a header. No real conviction in the appeals, though.
Yellow Card Stefan Radu
As I say that, Pandev steals back possession in the Lazio half and Radu and Cana combine to bring him down. Free kick, and a booking for the full-back.
Another rasping drive from distance goes just wide, this time from Radu. Lazio using the ball far better in these last few minutes.
LULIC! Great chance! Inler totally miscues a pass and it loops over the back four to send Lulic through, but he opts to cut back on to his right foot and his effort is deflected harmlessly into Reina's hands.
Lulic is picked out by Ciani's cross-field pass but his cross for Perea sails behind for a goal kick. It's all gone a little quiet here.
Gonzalez finds himself in space in the area but Hernanes is robbed as he receives the cut-back. That was Gonzalez's final act, as he is replaced by Sergio Floccari.
Another opening for Higuain! A stunning reverse pass from Pandev plays the Argentine in behind the defence but he can only fire across the six-yard box from a very tight angle.
Hernanes again allowed room to shoot but this one flies well over the bar. Lazio looking just a little deflated by that goal after their bright start to the half.
Really good work from Behrami to track Gonzalez's run forward there. Lazio eventually find a cross but the whistle blows for a foul from Perea.
Lazio back in possession as Napoli sit off a little - no doubt they'll be eager to avoid a repeat of the first half following their goal...
Panded did extremely well to finish there: great strength to hold off Britos and a clever finish.
Yellow Card Michael Ciani
GOOOAAAAALLLLL! PANDEV PUTS NAPOLI IN FRONT! Higuain picks up Insigne's cross from the free kick and floats a ball towards the far post. In a bizarre copy of Lazio's goal, the ball bounces around the edge of the six-yard area, and Pandev swivels to fire home with his left foot. Partenopei back in the lead!
Assist Christian Maggio
Goal Goran Pandev
Free kick awarded against Ciani for a high foot, about 35 yards out, right down the middle...
At the other end, Insigne crosses for Higuain but it's just too heavy. Napoli work the ball back to Inler, who tries his luck from 30 yards, but it flies well wide.
HERNANES! Close! The Brazilian bursts clear of Behrami and fires left-footed but it curls just wide of the post.
Great strength from Hernanes but Armero scrambles his attempted through-ball away. Lazio have a throw-in down the right.
Lazio slow to emerge for the second half, but we finally have all 22 players out on the pitch, and Napoli get us underway...
The teams are back in the tunnel - second half is on the way!
An intriguing first half here in Rome. Higuain's brilliant run and finish put the visitors in front, but, barely a minute later, Behrami's own goal levelled the scores. Lazio have edged proceedings in terms of chances but this one is finely poised. Do join me for the second half!
Hernanes bursts forward but loses possession on the edge of the box, and with that, the referee brings the half to a close.
Ciani launches one from his own half for Perea but that'll run through to Reina. Candreva then robs Armero and bursts into the box but he fires wide. Armero will be glad to see an end to this half, I think...
Higuain again gets forward and bends a pass to Insigne, but he can't quite get his foot round the ball and the cross loops out of play. Higuain then wins a free kick from Lulic, right on half way.
Higuain looks the most dangerous player on the pitch this evening. His floated pass is almost perfect for Pandev but Konko clears, and Callejon loses out to the busy Lulic. Ball back with Reina now.
Great chance for Lazio! Another dreadful defensive mix-up allows Hernanes clear through on goal, but as Reina rushes out, the Brazilian fluffs his lines. Real let-off for Napoli.
Lazio on the attack this time - Candreva crosses for Perea but Albiol does enough and Napoli clear.
GOAL - no! Offside! Callejon finds Insigne in the box, who skips to his right foot and drills a low shot. Marchetti parries into the path of Higuain, who taps in, but the flag is up for offside. Again, it's a correct call.
Insigne is flattened by Konko and Napoli have a dangerous free kick position, 10 yards from the corner flag. Insigne's kick is blocked and Armero floats in the second ball, but Marchetti gathers well.
But it's wasted, as the deep ball is gathered by Marchetti. It's all begun to settle down a little now after that manic few minutes.
Pandev's hopeful ball is hooked clear by Konko. Napoli try to switch it but it runs away from Maggio and out of play - but it's brought back for a free kick...
Lazio attack down the right once more but Armero wins it back and bursts forward, only for Callejon to lose out to Biglia. Armero isn't best pleased as he jogs back into position.
Behrami - perhaps a little eager to make amends - flattens Lulic on halfway and is lucky to escape a card. Pandev is then tripped on the counter and Napoli have a free kick.
That really was a goal to sum up Napoli at present: comical defending as the ball bounced loose and Behrami sticks out a leg to turn it past Reina. This game has burst into life!
Own Goal Valon Behrami
GOAAAALLLLL! AN INSTANT RIPOSTE FROM LAZIO!! Candreva's cross takes a defelction and causes all kinds of chaos in the area, and it's turned into his own net by Behrami!
Assist Gökhan Inler
Goal Gonzalo Higuaín
GOOOAAAAAALLLLLL! Higuain puts Napoli in front! Inler steals possession in the visitors' half and finds he Argentine, who turns past Ciani, out-paces Konko and pokes past Marchetti on the slide. Stunning goal from the former Real Madrid man!
Another pass from Inler is too long and Marchetti has a goal kick. Not quite gelling for Benitez's men so far, but you get the sense the front four are growing into the game now.
Much better from Lazio! Candreva's shot is fairly comfortable for Reina, but the hosts win it back immediately and Perea tees up Konko, who rifles just wide. Reina is furious with his defence after that - Konko had plenty of time to set himself and let fly.
Another good move from Lazio sees Candreva cut back from the byline but Reina gathers. Moments later, Candreva skins Armero and whips in a more dangerous cross but the Spanish goalkeeper claims well.
Good move from Lazio! Biglia hits it forward to Perea who outmuscles Albiol and nudges it towards Hernanes, who drills a shot straight at Reina from 20 yards. A bit more encouraging from the hosts.
Armero is penalised for a push on Gonzalez and Lazio have a free kick in their own half. Albiol wins it back and Inler launches an attack, but Callejon can't quite link up with Higuain and it runs behind.
Gonzalez is back on with some heavy strapping on his wrist - he must have bent it back when the ball struck him. Painful one, but he returns, just as Behrami's run is halted just inside the area.
A break in play as Gonzalez is treated for an elbow injury after he blocked a cross from Insigne. Hard to see what caused the problem there, but he remains off the pitch for now.
Close from Callejon! Napoli keep the ball well outside the Lazio area and the Spaniard's cross-cum-shot is tipped over by Marchetti.
Inler tries to pick out Insigne with a ball from deep but the attacker is penalised for a push on Radu and the danger is cleared.
CANDREVA - fires wide! Great play from Lulic, skipping inside from the left flank and picking out the Italy man with a great cross. Candreva turns Armero and hits it left-footed but it flies wide of Reina's right-hand post. First real chance of the night.
First glimpse of Higuain tonight - Callejon slides a great pass through the Lazio lines but the assistant referee has his flag raised for offside. Correct call.
Perea's flick is cleared by Armero and then Reina, but Lazio win the throw on the near side. Maggio and Pandev then contrive to put the ball out of play again.
Napoli starting off calmly in posession but Lazio are pressing high. Two fouls already, the latest against Britos.
And we're underway in Rome!
Of course, if you want to have your say on tonight's action, just log yourselves in to the chat box to the right of the screen via Twitter or Facebook. Failing that, follow me over at @JoeWright004 and I'll do my best to answer your queries!
Back in the Stadio Olimpico, the teams are just gathering in the tunnel. We're just a few minutes away...
Fiorentina have just won a thriller against Verona in tonight's earlier game, triumphing 4-3 against the 10 men of the visitors. Let's hope this one can provide the same kind of entertainment...
There's little doubt that both sides are desperate for a win tonight. Lazio secured progression from the Europa League group stages with a 2-0 win at Legia Warsaw on Thursday, but with just one win in their last five league games and speculation mounting over Vladimir Petkovic's future, tonight's hosts need a result. Napoli, meanwhile, have lost their last three games in all competitions and sit nine points behind Serie A leaders Juventus, so Rafa Benitez's men must go all-out for victory.
And for the visitors, we have: Reina; Maggio, Albiol, Britos, Armero; Inler, Behrami; Insigne, Pandev, Callejon; Higuain. Armero is passed fit despite picking up a minor injury in training this week, but both Juan Camilo Zuniga and Giandomenico Mesto remain sidelined.
First up, let's see how the hosts line up this evening:Marchetti; Konko, Ciani, Cana, Radu; Biglia; Candreva, Gonzalez, Hernanes, Lulic; Perea.Miro Klose remains sidelined with injury, so Brayan Perea - who scored in the Europa League last week - gets the nod up top. Stefano Mauri is also absent through suspension.
Good evening one and all, and welcome to Goal's LIVE! coverage of tonight's Serie A clash between Lazio and Napoli! Both sides are in desperate need of a win following some dismal recent form, so we could be in for a cracker in the capital. Team news on the way!
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