Napoli hold on for victory over Sassuolo


Napoli survived a late Sassuolo surge to ease the pressure on under-fire boss Rafael Benitez with a 1-0 win at the Mapei Stadium. With just four points from their opening four encounters, Benitez came into the match with his job on the line after not winning a Serie A match since the opening day of the season. And the former Chelsea boss will be thankful that the home side did not convert one of their late chances after Jose Callejon gave the visitors a deserved lead. Sassuolo came into the contest having conceded eight goals in their previous four matches, although seven of those came in a thrashing by Juventus. The visitors came close to adding to that tally after three minutes when Matteo Brighi cleared off the line from Marek Hamsik's close range flick. The home side were being dominated in the midfield with every Napoli break looking like it would lead to a chance. Thankfully for the hosts the visitors' final ball was often lacking and after weathering the early storm, they started to retain possession for longer periods of play. Callejon had a half volley which drifted wide of the goal after half an hour but moments later he put the visitors ahead. Gonzalo Higuain's precision cross found the Spaniard at the back post and from close range he tucked the ball into the net. Segio Floccari looked to be the most likely to get his side back into the game but with little support from those around him, the winger's efforts were largely in vain. Andrea Consigli was called upon twice at the start of the second half to deny Higuain and then Hamsik as Napoli searched for the vital second goal. Simeone Missiroli went the close to scoring an equaliser for the home side but his bending shot from the edge of the area went just over the bar. The home side pushed on in the final 10 minutes and were unfortunate when substitute Leonardo Pavoletti's header drifted just wide of the post after Napoli stopper Rafael got nowhere near the cross. Sassuolo came even closer moments later when Federico Peluso's deflected looping effort hit the cross bar and bounced clear.