Serie A - Cavani late show earns Napoli a point

Sun, 18 Mar 21:37:00 2012

Edinson Cavani scored two late goals and missed a penalty as Napoli left it late to salvage a 2-2 draw with 10-man Udinese in Serie A.

Lavezzi - Napoli vs Udinese - Serie A 2011/2012 - 0

Udinese went ahead through Giampiero Pinzi's tap-in after a swift counter-attack.

The home side doubled their lead seven minutes into the second half through Antonio Di Natale, who pounced on a loose ball from close-range.

But the game swung into Napoli's favour when Diego Fabbrini was dismissed after picking up his second yellow card.

Cavani missed a penalty but atoned with a sublime free-kick minutes later - and then fired in from an angle to salvage a point in a frantic finish.

Samir Handanovic produced a superb reflex save in the final moments to deny Juan Zuniga a late winner in a game that Udinese will feel they threw away.

With Napoli's Champions League game at Chelsea going the full 120 minutes they looked jaded in the early stages at the Stadio Friuli.

Napoli enjoyed a bright few minutes at the start that saw Cavani go close with a glancing header and Goran Pandev test Handanovic with a fierce drive - but Udinese weathered the storm and took control.

Di Natale is always a threat and, when Paolo Cannavaro's weak headed clearance fell straight at the feet of the Udinese playmaker, Napoli were in trouble.

With the Napoli defence stretched, Di Natale found Fabbrini wide right, and his low first-time cross found Pinzi, who tapped in.

Napoli looked to respond through Walter Gargano and Blerim Dzemaili, who each saw shots at goal clawed away by Handanovic.

But the visitors were far from their incisive best and Udinese appeared very comfortable - and extended their lead seven minutes after the break when Di Natale gave the home side a two-goal cushion.

Giovanni Pasquale, who was impressive going forward, delivered a cross from the left that found Pinzi, whose header crashed against the inside of the post. But Di Natale pounced on the rebound and Morgan De Sanctis was unable to keep it out - despite his desperate efforts on the line.

Pasquale was tearing Napoli to shreds at times and he bamboozled Andrea Dossena moments later to create a great chance for Pinzi - but this time the midfielder could not make enough contact to steer the ball past De Sanctis.

But when Fabbrini saw red for a needless trip on Hugo Campagnaro, Napoli were boosted. They introduction Marek Hamsik gave them more impetus in attack and the visitors seemed to have been thrown a lifeline when Maurizio Domizzi was adjudged to have handballed in the box.

But Cavani's penalty was tame and straight at Handanovic, who was mobbed by his team-mates.

Just when it seemed it was not Napoli's night, they struck back in emphatic style - with Cavani curling a sublime free-kick over the wall and past the stranded Handanovic.

Napoli believed they could get the equaliser and, with Udinese retreating further and further back, they drew level five minutes from time.

Collecting Pandev's intelligent pass wide, Cavani kept his head to drill a low shot under Handanovic and inside the far post - before ripping his shirt off in delight.

Napoli could have won it at the death if not for Handanovic's superb save from Zuniga. Udinese survived the late onslaught to take away a point but it will feel like two points dropped for the home side.

By Michael Da Silva (on Twitter - @mjdasilva) / Eurosport

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