Lorenzo Insigne shattered his seven-month goal drought with a brace as Napoli got their first win away to Udinese in nine years.
The Partenopei had not won in Udine since 2007, managing four draws and as many defeats. They made the trip without injured Manolo Gabbiadini and Arkadiusz Milik, while Lorenzo Insigne started despite suffering from flu symptoms. The Friulani missed Emil Hallfredsson, Adalberto Penaranda, Francesco Lodi, Panagiotis Kone and Ewandro.
Udinese had the first chance, Emmanuel Badu nodding a Silvan Widmer cross wide, then Duvan Zapata – on a two-year loan from Napoli – skipped past Vlad Chiriches to force Pepe Reina into a save with his chest at the near post.
Faouzi Ghoulam got away with a defensive error, as Duvan Zapata scuffed the finish rather than pass to Cyril Thereau. Napoli didn’t get their first half-chance until the half-hour mark, as Dries Mertens saw his roll across for Insigne intercepted by Widmer, then Insigne’s first touch let him down on an Elseid Hysaj pull-back.
There were a few heavyweight tussles between Kalidou Koulibaly and Duvan Zapata, mainly won by the Senegalese defender.
Napoli found the breakthrough straight after the restart and it was Insigne’s first goal since April. Callejon got down the left and pulled across the six-yard box for Insigne to fire into the roof of the net from close range, breaking his lengthy drought.
Moments later he almost had a second, his strike from distance fingertipped on to the crossbar by Orestis Karnezis, then ballooned horribly over the bar when unmarked from 12 yards.
The little Neapolitan did complete his brace, sneaking up behind Widmer and pouncing on a weak first touch to beat Karnezis one-on-one.
However, Udinese got themselves back into the game too, as a corner found the towering header of substitute Stipe Perica into the far top corner.
Amadou Diawara drilled just wide of the near stick and substitute Piotr Zielinski almost completed a give and go with Insigne, including nutmeg on Sven Kums, but Karnezis smothered at his feet.
Karnezis got down to fingertip away a Mertens daisy-cutter from distance, while Diawara had to storm into the Napoli area to clear up a dangerous situation.
Emanuele Giaccherini and Mertens almost combined for another goal in the final minutes.
credit: Footbll Italia