Edinson Cavani scored his 99th, 100th and 101st goals for Napoli as he inspired his side to a convincing 3-1 win over Internazionale.
The Uruguayan was outstanding throughout and his instinctive opener inside three minutes was a reminder of his precocious talent.
Inter levelled after Ricardo Alvarez went down easily in the box and the Argentine converted the penalty himself.
But Cavani scored from the spot before the break after Juan Camilo Zuniga was fouled by Jonathan, and the striker capped a fine individual display by sliding in the third with 13 minutes to play.
With Juventus having secured the Scudetto ahead of Napoli earlier in the day and Inter languishing in 8th and unlikely to qualify for Europe next season, both sides could afford to let their hair down and go for the win.
The result was an open and entertaining game that flowed from the first minute to the last – and it didn’t take Napoli long to stamp their authority on the contest.
In fact, it took little over two minutes as Cavani darted between Cristian Chivu and a static Andrea Ranocchia to collect Goran Pandev’s pass and rifle past a helpless Samir Handanovic in emphatic style.
Napoli were well on top and looked likely to extend their lead when the game swung Inter’s way after a controversial penalty decision. Alvarez was sent through on goal and, feeling the slightest of contact on his shin from Zuniga, hit the deck and won a penalty.
It was a soft penalty, but Alvarez converted the spot kick himself, with Napoli goalkeeper Morgan De Sanctis getting a hand to the low shot but unable to keep it out.
Napoli reacted well to going behind and, only ten minutes later, had a penalty for themselves. With Zuniga driving into the box, Jonathan tugged him back and the referee, Antonio Giannoccaro, immediately pointed to the spot.
Cavani struck the penalty low and hard into the bottom corner to give Handanovic no chance, as the Uruguayan notched up his 100th Napoli goal since joining from Palermo in 2010.
Inter started the second half well but were unable to capitalise on their brightest spell of the game. First Ranocchia went close with a free header before Alvarez could only find the hands of De Sanctis when he was sent clean through.
Napoli were boosted by Inter’s wastefulness in front of goal and Cavani almost put the game to bed when he met Pandev’s cross to the near post, but could only prod the ball into the side netting.
But Serie A’s top scorer was not to be denied ten minutes later. Leading the Napoli counter attack, Cavani swept the ball wide to Pandev, whose devilish low cross wasn’t dealt with by Handanovic, allowing Cavani to slide the ball in at the far post, and put Napoli seven points clear of third-placed AC Milan.
- Sports & Recreation
- Edinson Cavani
- Samir Handanovic