Naples-based outfit, Napoli defeated Serie A basement boys, Benevento 2-0 for a vital three points that takes them back to the top of the Italian league. The Partenopei took maximum points courtesy of strikes from Dries Mertens and Marek Hamsik, another win that highlights their title credentials. The club had been two points behind Juventus prior to the clash but made light work of the league strugglers to maintain their one-point advantage at the top.
Belgian forward, Dries Mertens put the visitors ahead in the 20th minute with a delightful lob over the Benevento goalie before club captain, Hamsik doubled the advantage just two minutes after the interval. Napoli needed to win as earlier in the day, as a second half hat-trick from Gonzalo Higuain condemned Sassuolo to a 7-0 defeat at the Juventus stadium to ramp up the pressure. The result sees Napoli maintain their near-perfect away record in the league, as they notched their 11th away victory in 12 matches.
Maurizio Sarri’s men only slight misstep was a 0-0 draw at Chievo Verona in November. Mertens was the Man of the Match, scoring a fantastic lob before turning provider for Hamsik. The striker constantly harried and pressed the Benevento defence and duly got his goal from a sharp angle early on. Napoli have made wining the Serie A this season their major objective, but face huge competition from perennial winners, Juventus, who have won the last six titles.
The Old Lady boast the best players, best manager, biggest financial resources but Napoli have the whole of Naples rooting for them to win the Scudetto which would be their first since the days of Diego Maradona in the late 80s and early 90s.