Napoli pummelled in Palermo


Palermo climbed to seventh in Serie A on Saturday night with a clinical and convincing 3-1 win over Napoli. Achraf Lazaar's long-range effort put the Sicilians in front after 14 minutes and Franco Vazquez added a second before half-time. Luca Rigoni made it three as Palermo looked deadly whenever Napoli dropped their guard before Manolo Gabbiadini grabbed a late consolation for Rafael Benitez's men, whose four-game winning streak came to an end. A slick move involving Paulo Dybala and Vazquez, and culminating in Francesco Bolzoni flashing a shot wide in the 22nd minute set the trend for the game with the Rosaneri allowing Napoli to have much of the possession, but punishing them whenever they made a mistake. Lazaar brought the worst of those mistakes out of Rafael with his 45-yard speculative effort flying past the forlorn Napoli goalkeeper, who had plenty of time to react to the shot but just seemed to remain immobile on his knees. Another loss of possession in midfield from Napoli was punished ruthlessly by Palermo with Dybala squaring for Vazquez, who curled his shot beyond the reach of Rafael to double the home side's lead in the 36th minute. Gonzalo Higuain saw his best attempt of the game turned past the post by Stefano Sorrentino while Jose Callejon whipped a free-kick just over the crossbar early in the second half, but Palermo were always waiting for a slip to let them in again. That happened in the 65th minute and Dybala was as quick as lightning to pick up the ball and send it to the far post, where Vazquez headed it down for Rigoni to convert from close range. Gabbiadini was sent on by Benitez, but there was little left to salvage. The former Sampdoria forward did pull a goal back with a backheeled finish from Julian De Guzman's free-kick, and he went close to netting a second, but he could not prevent Napoli's four-game winning streak from coming to an end.