Napoli held in Palermo thriller


Palermo turned up the heat on Napoli coach Rafael Benitez by snatching a 3-3 draw at the Stadio San Paolo on Wednesday night. Kalidou Koulibaly and Duvan Zapata gave Napoli a flying start, but they were pegged back by goals from Andrea Belotti and Franco Vazquez. Jose Callejon gave the home side the lead again on the stroke of half-time, but Belotti equalised after an hour to prompt whistles from the home fans as their patience in Benitez runs thin. Koulibaly gave Napoli a perfect start with his first goal for the club, a header which beat Stefano Sorrentino inside his near post from a corner from the right in the third minute. Zapata then added a second in the 11th minute after good work and intelligent thinking by Marek Hamsik. Benitez had said prior to the game that his side had been shooting more than any other Serie A side, and now they appeared to be getting their reward. Rather than running away with it, though, they let Palermo back into the match with Belotti scoring his first Serie A goal in the 18th minute, a header from six yards out from a corner. Vazquez then brought Palermo level in the 24th minute, converting Michel Morganella's pull-back from level with the penalty spot, his low shot creeping under Rafael's leg on its way in. The first sounds of discontent could already be heard from the Napoli fans before Callejon slotted in a third goal just before the interval to win them back over. That was not enough for all three points, though, with Paulo Dybala sending in a cross from the left which Belotti tucked in from five yards to bring the Sicilians back level in the 62nd minute. Gonzalo Higuain was sent on by Benitez, but not even he was able to alter Napoli's fortunes as they went their third game in a row without a win.