Napoli bounces back in Serie A with win

Napoli kept up their pursuit of a place in next season’s Champions League by beating relegation-threatened Novara 2-0.

Edinson Cavani and Paolo Cannavaro scored the goals in a one-sided Serie A game which was all over by half time.

Chances were few and far between for Novara, who now lie 11 points from safety with only five games remaining.

Walter Mazzarri’s side, meanwhile, are just three points behind third-placed Lazio.

Napoli have already qualified for the Europa League by virtue of reaching the Coppa Italia final, but they appear keen to return to the Champions League after getting their first taste of the competition this term.

They laid their cards on the table with an impressive display, at times seeming to be taking it easy as they brushed Novara aside.

The same could not be said of referee Daniele Doveri, whose over-enthusiasm in the second minute saw him dislocate his shoulder when signalling a free-kick.

The game was paused for 20 minutes while he received treatment, eventually having the shoulder relocated in the medical room, allowing him to continue.

Christian Maggio missed their first chance of the game in the 15th minute with Giuseppe Gemiti diverting the ball onto the crossbar.

Napoli took the lead just over five minutes later when a poor backpass from Ivan Radovanovic was sliced badly by Novara goalkeeper Alberto Fontana.

The ball fell to Blerim Dzmaili, who intelligently ignored the temptation to shoot with Fontana reducing the angle and instead played the ball to Cavani to score into the open goal.

Napoli added a second in the 37th minute when Cavani’s shot was pushed away by Fontana to Cannavaro, who shot venomously into the top corner.

Novara showed a few signs of life early in the second half, but Napoli soon got back into their stride.

In the 64th minute, Cavani shot into the side-netting with half of the stadium believing it had gone in.

Dzemaili then shot into the side-netting on the other side of the goal, giving the other half of the Stadio San Paolo a short-lived moment of joy.

Fontana prevented Napoli from adding a third before Andrea Caracciolo’s header came the closest to earning the Piedmontese side a consolation.