Third-placed Napoli were comfortable winners on Tuesday evening in Serie A, beating 10-man Cagliari 3-0 at the Stadio San Paolo.
The win was their first in three matches after previous draws against Udinese and Inter Milan, and whilst the title is already in Juventus’ possession it was a welcome victory nonetheless as it guaranteed a third placed finish in Rafael Benitez’s maiden campaign.
When coupled with the 3-1 win over Fiorentina in the final of the Coppa Italia just a few days ago, the season makes positive reading for the Spaniard.
Certainly it will help erase memories of his turbulent spell at Chelsea, but proof yet again that the former Liverpool boss remains capable of winning silverware just about anywhere on the planet.
Last night’s win was relaxed, straightforward, just the sort the crowd craved so to begin the party truly intended for Saturday evening.
Dries Mertens opened the scoring from the penalty spot after Daniele Conti fouled Goran Pandev inside the penalty area.
He duly converted the spot-kick with minimal fuss, before Pandev himself doubled the lead just mere minutes before the half-time interval.
Pandev was a nuisance all evening, and earned the home side another penalty when fouled by goalkeeper Marco Silvestri. The Cagliari man then received his marching orders by referee Davide Ghersini.
With Mertens off the pitch the duty of penalty taker went over to Pandev, but the Macedonian smashed the crossbar before Blerim Dzemaili sealed the game with a third in the 57th minute.
In the other Serie A game, Coppa Italia runners-up Fiorentina were beaten 4-3 at home by a brilliant Sassuolo to boost their chances of survival.
The win moved them two points ahead of the relegation zone with two game remaining, leaving Livorno, Catania and Bologna’s hopes hanging by the thinnest of threads.
Despite Fiorentina leaving it late to rally from 4-1 to 4-3, there was to be no denying the spirited away side.
19-year-old Domenico Beradi scored three for Sassuolo in the first half to give them a comfortable 3-0 lead.
Gonzalo Rodriguez pulled a goal back for Fiorentina, but the relegation candidates three goal lead was soon restored courtesy of Nicola Sansone.
Substitute Guiseppi Rossi, making his first appearance in four months after a knee injury, pulled a goal back before Juan Guillermo Cuadrado made it 4-3 with 15 minutes left on the clock.
What followed next was a Fiorentina onslaught, but no matter how hard they tried they could not find the equaliser.
It leaves them in fourth place, four points clear of Inter Milan.
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