Higuain double keep Napoli top as Inter Milan stutter

Higuain double keep Napoli top as Inter Milan stutter

Higuain double keep Napoli top as Inter Milan stutter

Napoli retained top spot in the Italian Serie A, four points ahead of their closest rivals, after coming from a goal down to defeat Sassuolo 3-1 in Naples. The visitors had taken an early lead through Diego Falcinelli’s penalty, but a brace from Argentine striker, Gonzalo Higuain, and a leveler by Jose Callejon were enough to calm any nerves at the Stadio San Paolo.

But the script hadn’t seemed like going according to plan. In the third minute of the game, former Valencia and Real Madrid defender, Raul Albiol, brought down Sassuolo’s Nicola Sansone, leaving the referee with no option but to point to the spot. Falcinelli stepped up and hit the resultant penalty into the net, sending keeper Pepe Reina the wrong way and leaving the Neroverdi with an early lead.

The hosts would redeem themselves 16 minutes later with Callejon heading in a Lorenzo Insigne cross. It was then game on from Napoli and, 3 minutes to the end of the first half, Higuain scored his first of two goals, coming at the end of a Marek Hamsik pass to make it 2-1. After numerous attempts, the striker would complete his brace, and his 20th league goal, in the dying seconds of the game as the Partenopei held on to first place on the grid.

If only Inter Milan could experience similar success. Roberto Mancini’s men headed to Atalanta in search of a vital victory, having lost twice in their last three league fixtures. They had to settle for a 1-1 draw in a game of two own goals. The Nerrazurri may be in second place after Napoli, but could be usurped by both Juventus and Fiorentina, who play on Sunday.

The Milan side was expected to win against a team currently 12th and that which had lost four previous matches. It was not to be. In fact, the visitors heaped misery upon themselves after Inter defender, Jeison Murillo, stretched his leg to make a clearance from Boukary Drame’s cross, only for the ball to go under his keeper, Samir Handanovic, for an own goal in the 17th minute.

There was respite for Mancini and his entourage after Sassuolo’s Rafael Toloi made a similar mistake to strike the ball into his own net and ensure parity. Nonetheless, Inter had to thank their keeper, Handanovic, for keeping them in the game, with fine saves that included a point blank save at the hour mark.

Elsewhere, Torino made a winning start, hammering newcomers and relegation threatened, Frosinone, 4-2 at home. Ciro Immobile’s penalty was cancelled by Frosinone’s Paolo Sammarco’s powerful header, before a double by Andrea Belotti gave the Turin a 3-1 half time lead. Danilo Avelar pulled one back for the visitors, before Marco Benassi restored Torino’s advantage.  

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