Atalanta burned by Cavani equalizer
Edinson Cavani grabbed a last-gasp equaliser as Napoli salvaged a 1-1 draw from their trip to Atalanta.
It looked like former Napoli striker German Denis was going to punish his former employers with his goal in the 64th minute, but Cavani struck deep into stoppage time to salvage a rather fortunate point for Walter Mazzarri’s men.
Atalanta only have themselves to blame for wasting some good chances when they were on top of the game before Napoli’s late rally.
Mazzarri left Ezequiel Lavezzi and Christian Maggio out of his starting XI as he rotated his side after the 2-1 win over Manchester City in midweek.
By taking just those two players out of the side, the drop in quality was evident, although the mental and physical tiredness of the midweek Champions League exertions arguably also contributed to a sub-standard Napoli side.
The only moment of danger they created in the first half came when Juan Zuniga’s cross curled towards the goal in the 20th minute, but Atalanta goalkeeper Andrea Consigli was alert and pushed the ball behind for a corner.
The home side were only a touch brighter, although they grew in confidence as the game progressed.
In the first minute of the second half, Maximiliano Moralez’s shot curled just wide of the post for the first warning from the Nerazzurri.
Denis then struck the underside of the crossbar with a volley from an almost impossible angle as the home side pressed forward.
Five minutes later, Denis confirmed his fine form with his 10th goal of the season.
Moralez’s pass was deflected into Denis’ path and, with his head down, he did not even need to look where he was placing his shot as he instinctively directed the ball into the far corner.
Lavezzi and Maggio were both thrown on by Mazzarri as Napoli finally started to attack, but Ezequiel Schelotto wasted the chance to make it two.
Atalanta were then pegged back in their own half for much of the final 20 minutes and they looked like they had done enough to defend the win.
Denis left the field to a standing ovation in stoppage time, although his slow departure led to the three minutes originally indicated being extended.
And this proved costly as, almost a minute beyond the allotted time, Cavani diverted Lavezzi’s shot past Consigli to salvage a point for Napoli and break the home fans’ hearts.