Napoli moved back above Inter Milan into second place in Serie A thanks to a narrow 1-0 win over Catania tonight.Juan Zuniga‘s goal in the 25th minute was enough to move Walter Mazzarri’s side just three points behind league leaders AC Milan, although they complicated matters for themselves with Edinson Cavani missing a penalty.
As a result of their failure to add a second, they suffered a little in the last ten minutes, but held on to an important victory to remain in the hunt for the Scudetto.
Although Napoli started brightly, the first chance of the game fell to Ezequiel Schelotto, whose header from a corner struck the outside of the post from six yards in the eighth minute.
Two minutes later, Napoli were gifted the chance to go ahead when Giovanni Marchese tugged the shorts of Jose Ernesto Sosa inside the penalty area and the referee gave a penalty on the advice of his assistant, who was closer to the incident.
Cavani stepped up with the whole of the Stadio San Paolo expectant, but he shot against the outside of the left-hand post.
The fans had to wait 15 more minutes before being ripped from their seats again, this time to celebrate the only goal of the game, scored by Zuniga. The full-back latched onto Cavani’s deflected shot and beat Mariano Andujar inside his near post for what could be a crucial goal in the race for the title.
Napoli continued their domination of the game with Marek Hamsik’s shot pushed behind for a corner, from which Christian Maggio headed just wide of the post. The home side failed to add a second goal, however, and were almost made to pay late on as they began to tire.
Catania debutant Bergessio’s shot was fumbled by Morgan de Sanctis, almost to the feet of Takayuki Morimoto, but the Napoli goalkeeper recovered to pounce on the loose ball before the Japanese striker could arrive.
And Maxi Lopez flashed a header over the crossbar deep into stoppage time as the fans collectively held their breath again until the referee’s whistle sounded three times shortly afterwards.