Serie A

High-flying Napoli defeats Chievo

Napoli Marek Hamsik
Marek Hamsik celebrates Napoli's road victory over Chievo.
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MILAN (AP)

Napoli beat Chievo Verona 4-2 in an eventful Italian league match at the Stadio Bentegodi on Saturday to maintain the team's perfect Serie A start under Rafa Benitez.

Marek Hamsik and Jose Callejon put Napoli ahead twice in the first half, only for Alberto Paloschi to draw Chievo level both times. But Hamsik scored again after the break before Gonzalo Higuain added his first Serie A goal to seal the result.

Paloschi could have had a hat trick as he also hit the post in the first half.

New Napoli coach Benitez has now won both his opening matches in charge after taking over at last season's runner-up following Walter Mazzarri's summer departure to Inter Milan. Chievo has one point.

Defending champion Juventus hosts Lazio later, with the visitors looking to avenge their 4-0 defeat in the Italian Super Cup. Higuain started despite having had eight stitches in his face after injuring himself by diving off a boat onto a rock on Monday.

Napoli had lost its past three matches at the Bentegodi without scoring a goal but it took the lead in the 13th minute with Hamsik firing Lorenzo Insigne's pass in off the right post from 20 meters.

Chievo drew level in the 25th following a good cross from Perparim Hetemaj to find Paloschi, who - alone in front of goal - drove the ball under Napoli goalkeeper Pepe Reina.

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However, Callejon restored Napoli's advantage almost immediately, firing Higuain's low pass in at the back post for his second goal in as many games since signing from Real Madrid.

It was end-to-end football, and Chievo nearly equalized moments later when Paloschi pounced on a woeful Christian Maggio backpass and chipped Reina, but the ball rebounded off the post.

Chievo was back on level terms five minutes from halftime as Paloschi scored his second of the game in a goalmouth scramble following a corner.

Hamsik scored his fourth goal in two matches in the 64th minute, firing home a loose ball after Chievo goalkeeper Christian Puggioni stuck out a foot to prevent an own goal.

Higuain - who joined from Real Madrid in a deal worth an estimated 40 million euros ($53 million) - sealed the result 20 minutes from time following some great work from Insigne. Higuain burst into the area and saw his initial effort saved by Puggioni but the Argentina striker fired in the rebound.

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