MX23RW : Sunday, May 9 08:54:47| >> :120:10484:10484:
Feb 2, 2013 at 7.45pm UK at Stadio Diego Armando Maradona
Cannavaro (44'), Hamsik (31')
FT(HT: 2-0)

Live Commentary: Napoli 2-0 Catania - as it happened

Sports Mole brings you live commentary of tonight's Serie A clash between Napoli and Catania.

Napoli welcomed Catania to Stadio San Paolo for their Serie A clash this evening.

Walter Mazzarri's side were hoping to close the three-point gap between themselves and Juventus at the top of Serie A, while Catania had their eye on the automatic European places.

After a tightly-contested opening 30 minutes, Napoli flew out of the traps when Marek Hamsik both started and finished the move to make it 1-0. Paolo Cannavaro then doubled the home side's lead just before half time to give them a real chance of moving level with Juventus.

Catania worried Napoli in the second half, but sheer grit and determination helped Walter Mazzari's side secure all three points.

Find out how the action unfolded on Sports Mole's minute-by-minute live commentary below.

Good evening all! Welcome to Sports Mole's live commentary of tonight's Serie A clash between Napoli and Catania.

Should be a cracker at Stadio San Paolo tonight, with two in-form teams going head-to-head.

Let's have a look at the teams...

Napoli: De Sanctis; Grava, Cannavaro, Gamberini; Mesto, Behrami, Dzemaili, Hamsik, Zuniga; Pandev, Cavani

Catania: Andujar; Bellusci, Spolli, Rolin, Capuano; Izco, Lodi, Biagianti; Barrientos, Bergessio, Gomez

Big changes in defence for Napoli, who have Christian Maggio out of action with injury, while Hugo Campagnaro and Miguel Angel Britos are both suspended.

The problems at the back mean a first start of the season for veteran Gianluca Grava, though it's still a fearsome attack for the home side, with Marek Hamsik supporting Goran Pandev and Edinson Cavani up top.

Gonzalo Bergessio and Francesco Lodi return from their bans for Catania, though Pablo Alvarez and Lucas Castro are suspended for this game.

Defensive stalwart Nicola Legrottaglie misses out due to flu symptoms and is replaced by Alexis Roli for the away side tonight.

Catania are in fantastic form at the moment, so I'd fully expect them to cause Napoli a few problems tonight - especially with a weakened defence!

The Rossazzurri are on a run of three consecutive wins in the league - something that the club have only ever achieved twice before in its history!

A fourth victory tonight would be a new record, though it's a tough ask for the side who are chasing for a European place this season.

Napoli, of course, are in the hunt for the title and, with Juventus' poor form since the turn of the year, they'll be hoping to go level at the top tonight.

If they do manage to secure the three points, it would certainly pile the pressure on Antonio Conte's side, who face Chievo tomorrow afternoon.

Not long until we're off at San Paolo, so I suppose it's time for a predictions...

It's a tough one to call, but I think I'll have to go with Napoli for the narrow win. I think Catania will certainly cause some problems, though the forward line of Cavani, Hamsik and Pandev may prove too much.

Having said that, I don't think any of expected Cagliari to pull off a 4-2 win away at Roma last night!

I think this game will be vital for Napoli - they could gain a real psychological advantage over Juve should they get the win.

I'm sure Walter Mazzarri's got his men fired up for the game - the chance to go level at the top is a huge opportunity.

And we're off!

Both sides just trying to settle in the game here and get hold of the ball.

Goran Pandev gets the first shot of the game away, but it was never going to trouble the goalkeeper.

Napoli have definitely started the better of the two sides here - Catania have yet to get hold of the ball properly.

Catania's front three are looking to cause problems for Napoli's back line. There's some hope for the away side, there.

Lots of pressure from Catania so far here - they're not giving Napoli one second of rest in these opening stages.

Catania's fullbacks in particular are flying forward at every opportunity. They're really trying to set a pace.

It'll be interesting to see if they can keep this up for a sustained period - it will definitely cause this Napoli side a few problems, if so.

Good strength from Pandev to hold up the ball on the half-way line, he lays it off to Hamsik, who can't get away from Catania's defence.

Very patient play from the home side so far, keeping the ball well and looking for the opening.

Appeals for a penalty turned down by the referee - Napoli players are adamant it hit a hand in the area from a corner.

It would've been harsh if given, it has to be said.

Pandev gives away a freekick - Lodi's delivery is cleared and Napoli try to break...

Pandev just couldn't get the ball under control and the move breaks down.

Roli clips Pandev and the referee gives Napoli a freekick in a dangerous area on the left-hand side.

Pandev curls it in, but it's headed away well by the Catania defence.

Lodi playing an important role for Catania tonight - sitting in defensive midfield, he has a huge job to do!

Another freekick on the right-hand side for Napoli, but Pandev's ball is cleared easily.

We're past the 20 minute mark here and Catania will be pleased with their start to the game.

Napoli have dominated the majority of play, but no clear-cut chances have been created with Catania's defenders standing firm so far.

Strong challenge on Cavani from Rolin - a freekick's been given, but it looked fair to me.

It looks as though the crowd have influenced that decision!

Catania's front men have just started to get involved in the game, linking well as they start to push forward.

There was a chance, there! Pandev links well with Cavani, who finds Nesto with a wonderful ball out wide!

Nesto's first touch was too heavy, though, and the quality of his cross suffered.

Cavani is really putting a shift in up front for Napoli - he's retrieved the ball several time already tonight. He definitely looks in the mood.

Napoli are struggling to get past a stubborn Catania defence so far. Every move seems to be breaking down on the 18-yard line.

GOAL! Napoli 1-0 Catania (Hamsik)

Hamsik is the man behind the goal; picking up the ball, he runs at the Catania defence before finding Zuniga out wide. The winger fires across the box and Hamsik taps in at the far post.

It really was fantastic play from the playmaker - great decision to gamble and continue his run inside the area.

Catania are pushing forward now, looking to get themselves back into the game instantly.

You'd have to say that Napoli deserved that goal - they were patient and calm in their approach, simply waiting for a moment to make a move. Hamsik certainly chose the right time!

Barrientos causing problems down the right-hand side - he gets the ball across and the ball's put out for a corner.

Huge shouts for a penalty from the corner - it looks as though Zuniga has controlled the ball with his arm.

Napoli break quickly and earn a freekick - a waste of a counter-attack!

CHANCE! Cavani fires the freekick towards the top corner and Andujar pushes it onto the bar!

A bit of a melee on the pitch as Gomez lies on the floor clutching his face.

It looks as though Grava has swung an arm towards Gomez - he's made a meal of it, but it is a yellow for the Napoli man.

A very quick break from Andujar's clearance and Morgan De Sanctis is forced to come out of his area and head the ball clear.

CHANCE! Barrientos gets in behind the Napoli defence, but his shot is wide of the mark - he should've done better!

At the other end, Pandev strikes towards goal, but the goalkeeper holds his shot well considering the conditions.

GOAL! Napoli 2-0 Catania (Cannavaro)

A huge goal for Napoli! Catania never cleared the ball and Hamsik finds himself out on the left before crossing into the area for Cannavaro, who taps home from six yards.

A goal of real importance for Cannavaro, who is making his 259th appearance for Napoli, matching the total achieved by Diego Maradona.

HALF-TIME: Napoli 2-0 Catania

A fantastic half for Napoli, who look to be heading to the top of the table with Juventus.

Catania started the game really well, but they just couldn't contain the home side, who really kicked on towards the end of the half.

Hamsik, Cavani and Pandev became really influential after the half hour mark - and that could only mean one thing for Catania!

A massive ask for Catania to come back from this now - Napoli will be desperate to take the points - though, it must be said that the away side have looked threatening when they've got forward.

Catania will be annoyed that they didn't get a penalty - Zuniga clearly handled in the area!

That would've brought the score to 1-1 - different game from there, I'm sure.

Catania have to stay positive if they want anything from this game. Napoli have looked suspect at the back and that does give Rolando Maran's men some hope.

Napoli could really kick on and secure the points with a third goal, though. They will probably need it, too - 2-0 is never a safe scoreline, as many boring people have said over the years.

The players are making their way onto the pitch, not long to go until the second half now. Looking forward to this!

Seems to be a bit of a delay, here - there's a man hitting the pitch with a stick. I think that may be because of the weather conditions?

Let's hope so, anyway! They're on the pitch now and we're finally getting ready to kick off.

It's a net problem! That's why we're sat twiddling our thumbs.

It's fixed and we're off!

Great play on the wing from Bergessio forces Napoli to put it out for a corner.

CONTROVERSY! Bergessio heads in from the corner to make it 2-1, but the referee rules it out for shirt-pulling!

Bergessio seems to haul down Zuniga before heading into the back of the net - they were holding each other, though!

Probably the right decision, but Napoli have not started this second half very well at all.

The home side seem to have come out from the break and sat back to invite pressure from Catania. I'm not sure that's the right plan for this game as the away side are really forcing the issue.

Pandev finally gets hold of the ball for Napoli and weaves through the defenders before winning a freekick. Cavani territory!

The Uruguayan doesn't make the most of it - well over the bar!

Bergessio and Gomez linking well now - the latter has just seen an effort go wide from 18 yards.

Napoli are just trying to calm this game down now by keeping the ball - it's been an uncomfortable opening ten minutes for the home side.

It seems Napoli are struggling to decide how they want to approach this second half. As ever, if they're not playing with urgency, they're never sure how to play.

Far too cautious from Napoli - they seem to be hesitating, even when there's a chance to break.

Lorenzo Insigne is warming up on the touchline - could he be the man to revive Napoli? They need something at the moment.

It must be said that the surface isn't really helping either side. The rain is cutting up the turf and attacks are breaking down very easily.

CHANCE! Nesto crosses to Cavani, who's unmarked in the box, but he puts it over the bar - should've done better!

SUBSTITUTION! Inler comes on to replace Behrami.

Clearly, Inler has been brought on to give Napoli some energy and control in the centre of the park. There's not enough drive at the moment for the home side.

Inler has given away a freekick in a dangerous area, though - Lodi stands over it...

CHANCE! De Sanctis flies across goal to keep Lodi's effort out! The goalkeeper was struggling!

The weather is causing havoc - advertising boards have been blown over and Catania have a corner. Could cause problems...

It's cleared eventually by Napoli - they've not quite seen this game out yet. Another corner for Catania.

Napoli break quickly through Hamsik, but he chooses the wrong option and ignores Cavani!

The big striker could've been played in, there! Missed opportunity.

Hamsik plays the corner short to Zuniga, who feeds Inler on the edge of the box - his shot is closed down well.

SUBSTITUTION! Sergio Almiron replaces Marco Biagianti.

If Catania were to get a goal, it'd make for an interesting last 15 minutes. I wouldn't rule it out just yet.

SUBSTITUTION! Hamsik - who could well be the match-winner - is replaced by Insigne.

Catania are still causing problems for Napoli, but the home side are looking more likely to get the three points.

Napoli have been really disappointing in this half - a lacklustre effort, even when it looks as though they're in dangerous positions.

Walter Mazzarri will not be happy with his side's performance, but it looks as though they might just make it over the line now and head to the top of Serie A. Catania are beginning to tire as the game draws to a close.

Barrientos has a curling effort from the edge of the area, but the ball floats harmlessly wide.

A flash of brilliance from Cavani, charges in from the right-hand side, but can't quite get his shot away.

A bit more of that style of play would've seen Napoli wrap this game up a long time ago.

A scramble in the area from a Catania freekick - Napoli just about get it clear!

The last couple of minutes have seen the game become a real scrappy affair - Napoli just want to see this out and take the win.

Clever play from Insigne as he tries a reverse pass into Pandev, but it's just cut out by the Catania defence. So close to wrapping it up!

Job done for Napoli, it seems - they're just keeping the ball in a bid to finally see out this game.

A late corner for Catania is cleared by Napoli, even the away side know it's over now.

FULL-TIME: Napoli 2-0 Catania

Napoli head to the top of the table, level on points with Juventus! A huge win for the Naples side!

After a really entertaining first half, Napoli seemed content to simply shut up shop in the second half. It was a disappointing end to the game, but they got the job done!

Catania threatened to make a game of it early on in the half, but Napoli's grit slowed the game right down and secured the three points, which could increase in importance if Juventus don't do the business tomorrow!

Thanks for joining us here at Sports Mole - check out the match report from Subhankar Mondal here.

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Napoli's Marek Hamsik celebrates scoring the opener against Parma on January 27, 2013
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