Walter Mazzarri's men start 2012 with a victory at Stadio Renzo Barbera after a poor performance from the Sicilian side.
Napoli triumphed 3-1 over a lackluster Palermo at Stadio Renzo Barbera, in Sunday night's Serie A action.
An even first half saw a number of missed chances from both sides, but Goran Pandev gave the visiting team the lead just before the break. The Neapolitans overran their opponents after the interval, sealing the victory with strikes from Edinson Cavani and Marek Hamsik.
The first half was characterized by a wealth of chances and poor finishing from both sides. Igor Budan could have put the home side ahead in the opening moments after a probing ball from Fabrizio Miccoli sent him clear, but he was only able to force a save from Morgan De Sanctis.
Meanwhile, Pandev and Walter Gargano combined well for Napoli, with the Uruguayan finding enough space to get a shot in, but Francesco Benussi did well to claim the ball, despite a deflection.
Cavani should have broken the deadlock with a trio of headers, but was able to do nothing more than call Benussi into action to tip one such chance over the bar.
At the other end, Igor Budan’s deft pass found Franco Vazquez, but the Argentine paused on the ball before scooping over the bar with De Sanctis rushing off his line.
Miccoli soon had another chance for the Sicilians to take the lead as Federico Balzaretti’s cross found him unmarked in the Napoli box, but the 32-year-old’s header was poor and failed to test De Sanctis.
In the end, it was the visiting side which finally went in front. Cavani found himself on the half way line and passed the ball into the onrushing Gargano’s path. The Uruguayan continued his run before feeding Pandev, who turned neatly in the box before sending the ball past Benussi.
Palermo thought it had struck back on the stroke halftime as Giulio Migliaccio rose to head Miccoli’s free kick into the net, only to see his effort correctly ruled out for offside.
The second half began with Napoli eager to kill the game off. Pandev forced a decent save from Benussi with an effort from the edge of the box, before Mazzari’s men delivered the killer blow.
Cavani collected Marek Hamsik’s pass on the left, turned inside before curling a beautiful shot into the top corner of Benussi’s net.
The home team had barely dusted itself off before any chance of an unlikely comeback was dead. Hamsik gathered Inler’s pass, took the ball around Benussi and placed it into the empty net.
Palermo began to wake up after the third goal, and Miccoli sent a fine header past De Sanctis, but it was too little too late. Napoli returns to the Italian mainland with an impressive three point haul.