MX23RW : Saturday, November 27 23:16:05| >> :120:42279:42279:
Apr 7, 2013 at 7.45pm UK at Stadio Diego Armando Maradona
Dzemaili (29'), Pandev (18')
FT(HT: 2-0)

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

Sports Mole's live text commentary of an impressive win for Napoli at home against struggling Genoa.

Napoli went into tonight's clash with Genoa desperate for a win to keep their slim title chances alive.

Walter Mazzarri's side went ahead early on Edinson Cavani set up Goran Pandev to drive home his fourth Serie A goal of the season.

Blerim Dzemaili then continued his fine recent form to double Napoli's advantage soon after following a swift counter attack.

Genoa were unable to respond in the second half as they slipped into the bottom three with just seven games remaining.

Look back at a big win for Mazzarri's men with Sports Mole's minute-by-minute commentary below.

Evening Calcio fans! Thanks for joining Sports Mole for live coverage of a clash with big implication at both ends of the Serie A standings. Second placed Napoli welcome Genoa to the San Paolo tonight, with three points imperative if their fading title hopes are to stay alive.

Walter Mazzarri's men were involved in a quite astonishing match at Torino last week, coming from 3-2 down with 12 minutes left to snatch a miraculous 5-3 win in Turin. Ahead of tonight's match Napoli are 12 points behind Juve and a point ahead of AC Milan in third.

A big result went Napoli's way in the race for Champions League football earlier today, as AC Milan drew 2-2 at Fiorentina. Second place is now perhaps the most realistic finish for Mazzarri's side this season and an automatic return to Europe's club competition.

Genoa are also in dire need of a positive result tonight after a bad day of results from their point of view. Relegation rivals Palermo recorded a stunning 3-1 at Sampdoria, while Siena leapfrogged them out of the bottom three with a goalless draw at Parma. Anything other than defeat would be a huge boost for Davide Ballardini's team to halt an alarming run of no wins in five.

BREAKING TEAM NEWS! There are changes galore for both sides tonight, perhaps reflecting the importance of a crucial encounter. Napoli are pretty much at full strength and welcome back Edinson Cavani, Morgan De Sanctis and Hugo Campagnaro to the side. A full look at both starting XI's will follow in just a few moments.

NAPOLI: De Sanctis, Campagnaro, Cannavaro, Britos, Maggio, Behrami, Dzemaili, Hamsik, Armero, Pandev, Cavani

GENOA: Frey, Granqvist, Portanova, Moretti, Jankovic, Kucka, Matuzalem, Rigoni, Antonelli, Bertolacci, Immobile

Mazzari has made four changes in total to his side, with Lorenzo Insigne dropped in attack as Cavani partners Goran Pandev. Hugo Campagnaro is fit to partner Paolo Cannavaro in defence, while Blerim Dzemaili keeps his place after scoring a hat-trick at Torino.

Goalkeeper De Sanctis has also recovered from an elbow injury to return, but the return to form of Cavani is most important for the home side. The Uruguayan marksman came off the bench to score twice against Torino, with the brace including a quite stunning free-kick from distance. A mid-season drought is now a distant memory for Cavani, who has four in his last two matches.

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Genoa have decided to drop top scorer Marco Borriello in attack to stick with Ciro Immobile in a lone front role. He will be supported by Andrea Bertolacci, who gets an instant recall after returning from suspension.

Both forwards starting for Genoa tonight have connections with Naples and have a big incentive to impress tonight. Matuzalem is also an interesting selection in midfield, his distribution and ability to link play in the final third will be crucial if Ballardini's side are to earn any point this evening.

Cesare Bovo is a big miss for Genoa tonight at the back, with the pressure now on Daniele Portanova, who will have the unenviable task of keeping Cavani quiet tonight.

There is one other match in Serie A tonight, which sees Inter Milan aim for successive league wins at home to Atalanta. Andrea Stramaccioni's side have been decimated by injuries, which makes that clash quite difficult to call. We will keep you posted as the goals go in at San Siro with regular updates.

One player well worth keeping an eye on tonight is Genoa midfielder Juraj Kucka. The powerful midfielder has been linked with a move to this evening's opponents Napoli after a string of all-action displays in Serie A this season. Another effective performance at the San Paolo could well seal a permanent move to Naples this summer for the Slovakian.

PREDICTION! With kickoff just moments away there is just time to register a rather unremarkable prediction. Napoli have lost just once at home this season, while Genoa have won only two games on their travels. I fully expect Mazzarri's side to earn all three points tonight in a high-scoring clash. I'll go for 3-1 Napoli with Cavani and Dzemaili to both get back on the scoresheet.

We are slightly late to get underway this evening as both teams finally emerge at the San Paolo. The two sides are greeted by the strange anthem of Go West by The Pet Shop Boys as a raucous atmosphere builds.

Napoli get us underway shooting left to right and immediately fire a long diagonal pass towards Maggio. Genoa defend strongly and try their own aerial pass in search of Immobile, which is easily cut out by the returning Campagnaro.

SAVE! Jankovic and Bertolacci combine as Genoa enjoy a sustained spell of early pressure in the final third. Bertolacci eventually strike at goal from 25 yards, but his powerful drive is well caught by De Sanctis.

Napoli finally launch a counter after a slow start, with Hamsik breaking from deep to find Maggio in space on the right wing. He aims a looping cross towards Cavanai at the far post, but Granqvist is well placed to intercept with a timely header. From the resulting corner Napoli take short to Armero, who fires well wide with a wayward drive.

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SHOT! Pandev is next to drive from deep and runs well inside the penalty area unchallenged. His strike from a tight angle has pace and power, but is too central and palmed clear with both fists by Sebastian Frey.

Portanova suffers a cut just above his eye after being caught in an aerial challenge by Cavani. There is no hint of a foul but the defender is forced to race to the touchline as blood seeps down onto his shirt.

Hamsik robs possession from Bertolacci in midfield, but his ball inside eventually sees Cavani give the wall away with a short pass meant for Maggi. Both sides are struggling to control the match in a fast-paced start lacking any moments of real quality at this stage.

Portanova is back in the thick of the action as he slips marking Cavani, but still manages to land an effective tackle which stops Napoli breaking into the final third. Pandev has started the match noticeably deeper and wants the ball into feet at every possible opportunity.

Kucka glides past two defenders and finds Bertolacci, who attempts to pick out Antonelli with a clever ball over the top. Maggio has tracked the runner and does well to hook clear and stop Genoa creating danger in the penalty area.

MISS! Pandev finds some room just outside the area after reading a pass inside from Maggio. The forward takes an extra touch before attempting to bend his strike Granqvist and into the far corner. His effort is well struck but falls three yards wide of the post as Frey watches the ball go out for a goal kick with relief.

GOAL! Napoli 1-0 (Pandev)

The home side go ahead through Pandev, who meets a perfect pass inside by Cavani before firing past Frey from close range. His strike was definitely aided by a late deflection, but Pandev will care little after netting only his fourth goal of the campaign.

Napoli are right back on the attack as Hamsik and Maggio's movement causes chaos in a prolonged goalmouth scramble. Eventually Genoa clear their lines as Jankovic drops deep to thump into touch. Ballardini's side need to shut up shop for the next 10 minutes, otherwise this match might get away from them very early on.

Hamsik does brilliantly to control a long goal kick, before cutting inside to beat Moretti and drive towards the touchline. He only has Cavani to aim for in the penalty area and eventually gets crowded out by three recovering Genoa defenders. The visitors launch a counter through Bertolacci, but at the crucial moment his touch deserts in the penalty area.

Dzemaili aims a through ball towards Hamsik, who has run beyond Cavani to be the furthest man forward. In a straight foot race with Portanova the defender just has a yard head start and clears with ease.

GOAL! Napoli 2-0 Genoa (Dzemaili)

Genoa have just been caught out brilliantly by a swift Napoli counter. Hamsik lead the charge after the visitors committed bodies forward a corner kick. The playmaker took his time before finding the late of Dzemaili, who made no mistake with an assured finish past Frey into the bottom corner. A classic break for the home side, who now look in complete control of the match.

Dzemaili has really come to life in the last two matches and reminded Napoli fans why he is such a special talent. Make that four goals in under two games for the young Swiss international.

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Defensively the first 30 minutes have been a disaster for the home side, who must be having horrible flashbacks of last season's trip to the San Paolo. On that occasion Napoli triumphed 6-1, a result Ballardini can ill afford with morale low at the wrong end of the table. His side have responded brightly and attack through Rigoni, who has De Sanctis worried momentarily with a searching cross to the far post.

SAVE! Only a wonderful stop from Frey has just prevented Napoli going further ahead. Hamsik burst into the box and used his trickery to beat two defenders, but his low shot was just kept out by the feet of Frey at his near post.

YELLOW CARD! Campagnaro has just been booked for simulation after trying to win a penalty on a rare venture forward. The Argentine tangled with Moretti and fell to the ground, but despite getting back to his feet quickly is cautioned by the referee.

Bertolacci has stayed down after falling awkwardly under a challenge from Dzemaili. After a short delay for the forward is back on his feet, but still appears to be in some discomfort.

Rigoni catches Pandev with a late tackle that clipped the forward's ankle to hand Napoli a free kick. The visitors quickly win back possession and drive forward through Immobile, who smashes well over the crossbar from a tight angle. The long striker should have done much better with a rare sight of goal there just before the break.

HALF-TIME Napoli 2-0 Genoa

The referee decides there is no need for stoppage time, much to the relief of Genoa as they trudge off with a mountain to climb. Early goals from Pandev and Dzemaili has Napoli in total control as they aim to cut the gap behind Juventus to nine points.

Cavani may not have scored in the first 45 minutes, but his runs across the final third have led Genoa a merry dance tonight. With the Uruguayan breaking out wide and Pandev dropping deep, the visitors have three-man defence which is unsure whether to mark tight or drop deep. Confusion has reigned allowing Napoli to take full advantage and build an early lead.

Mazzarri will be delighted with the spirit showed by his side tonight, with Napoli clearly still determined to at the very least finish second this season. If they can finish the job after the interval they will move four points clear of AC Milan, ahead of next week's daunting trip to the San Siro as second meets third.

Genoa in fairness have tried to be positive, but were caught out ruthlessly on the counter for the second goal. Sending eight players for the corner was excessive from Ballardini's side, with Hamsik and Dzemaili punishing the space with a clinical break.

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The visitors have struggled to provide lone striker Immobile with any meaningful service, particularly from midfield where wide men Jankovic and Antonelli proving ineffective so far. Expect to see top scorer Borriello brought on before too long, possibly for playmaker Matuzalem who was anonymous for large spells of the first 45 minutes.

Napoli now have a chance to stamp their authority on the match early in the second half and sent out a warning to Milan in the process. Cavani will be desperate for a goal and after a rampaging display before the break do not be surprised if he nets when play resumes!

Both sides are just heading back out at the San Paolo, with a bandaged Portanova leading his beleaguered side onto the pitch. Napoli look full of confidence as Mazzarri trudges across to the touchline.

Genoa get the second half underway and win a corner inside 20 seconds as Armero is forced to head behind. Bertolacci takes short towards Kucka, but he is kept wide by the powerful presence of Campagnaro and stopped from striking at goal.

SAVE! Cavani has just come very close to adding a third after a clever burst on the counter. After finding space out wide a quick dummy had Granqvist beaten easily, but the same trick is just read in time by Frey as he tips a low shot wide at his near post.

De Sancits makes a comfortable save from a free kick taken from deep by Jankovic, which was conceded by a clumsy challenge by Cannavaro. Genoa should be encouraged by this start to the second half, which is open at both ends. Napoli nearly take advantage on the break as Armero slices wide from just inside the penalty area.

GENOA SUBSTITUTION: Ballardini decides to make a change just behind the striker. Bertolacci is withdrawn for Juan Vargas, who immediately takes up an advanced role just behind Immobile.

Hamsik teases Cavani with a powerful cross towards the far post, which is intercepted by Frey at full stretch. Expect the game to become open at both ends now as Napoli continually look for the long diagonal to Armero or Maggio down the flanks.

MISS! Cavani's wait for a goal goes on as a vital late deflection from Antonelli takes his curling effort wide of the far post. That was a superb piece of last-ditch defending as Genoa hang on by a thread in this match.

The Uruguayan is quickly back on the attack and wants a penalty after being brought down from behind by Portanova. His appeals are turned away as Genoa break to win a corner through Immobile, who forces Cannavaro into a tackle out wide.

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GENOA SUBSTITUTION: The visitors finally swap Jankovic for Ruben Olivera. The midfielder has been horribly exposed playing out of position on the right-hand side, with Armero bombing past him at will. An uninspiring but entirely necessary change from Balardini, with his side quickly winning another corner as De Sanctis saves Kucka's drive from distance.

SCORE UPDATE! A quick word on tonight's other clash in Serie A between Inter Milan and Atalanta at the San Siro. The home side have just gone 2-1 up through Ricky Alvarez and will go fourth as things stand.

PENALTY TO NAPOLI! Kucka can have no complaints after conceding a spot kick by bringing down Hamsik from behind. The referee had no choice as Cavani steps up to take and wrap up a routine win.

SAVE! A poor penalty from Cavani is central and easily palmed clear by Frey, who reads his intentions early and saves with authority. The Uruguayan's poor recent penalty record continues, with Napoli now missing from the spot in successive weeks.

Cavani looks rattled and is almost immediately involved in angry clash with Kucka off the ball. The pair go head-to-head but back away just as the referee arrives on the scene. No further action is taken against either player but the Napoli striker looks furious.

GENOA SUBSTITUTION: Ballardini takes no chances with Kucka and decides to withdraw the combative midfielder. His final change sees Chilean playmaker Jorquera introduced in a last throw of the dice.

The visitors have a rare chance to get players forward after Rigoni wins a free kick out wide. He decides to take himself but sends a truly awful ball that flies straight out past the far post. In those areas Genoa simply must do better or their chances of getting back into the match look slim.

YELLOW CARD! Immobile makes a good run beyond his marker and touches the ball past De Sanctis as he bears down on goal. The touch is heavy and takes him wide, leading to desperate late dive after leaving his trailing leg next to the Napoli goalkeeper. An unimpressed referee sees straight through the protest and awards the striker a merited booking.

SCORE UPDATE! Three quick goals at the San Siro have left Inter Milan and Atalanta locked at 3-3. Alvarez made the score 3-1, but two goals from German Denis mean the two sides are level late on.

NAPOLI SUBSTITUTION: Mazzarri makes his first change of the night, swapping Behrami for Gokhan Inler in central midfielder. The Swiss international is one booking away from suspension so must be careful in the closing stages.

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NAPOLI SUBSTITUTION: Another swift change from the home side as Lorenzo Insigne replaces Pandev in attack. The young forward became a father for the first time earlier this week and will looking to mark the occasion with a goal in the last 10 minutes.

Inler's first contribution is particularly poor as his stray pass falls inside to a Genoa player. Vargas takes advantage to shoot quickly from 25 yards, but his effort is pulled just wide of the near post. At the other end a Napoli attack is broken up by Vargas, who tracks back to bring down Campagnaro with a poor tackle and picks up a booking.

SAVE! Cavani is denied once more as his thumping header falls at a nice height for Frey, who pushes the effort clear of Insigne who is waiting to pounce on the rebound. The Uruguayan forward has been largely excellent this evening but should definitely have scored at least once.

Inler drives deep into the final third, but waits too long to release Hamsik on the overlap. Genoa recover possession and break forward through Immobile, who sums up a frustrating night for the visitors by shooting tamely straight at De Sanctis.

SCORE UPDATE! Yet another goal at the San Siro has seen Atalanta go 4-3 up against Inter Milan. Denis has now scored a hat trick in 13 minutes to leave the home side's Champions League push in tatters. Back at the San Paolo Hamsik has been taken off for young midfielder El Kaddouri.

SHOT! Cavani continues his duel with Frey by trying an instinctive volley on the turn. His superb strike looks destined for the far corner, but Frey pulls off another strong save to keep the deficit at 2-0 in the final few minutes.

Added time begins with Insigne driving into the penalty are before passing to Cavani, who hammers a curling drive past the post from close range. He almost hit that shot too hard and with no control on the ball had little chance to pick his spot. Genoa drive forward for the last time, but Vargas concedes possession easily under pressure from Dzemaili. Rigoni tries again from wide for the visitors, but his low strike comes back off an advancing Jorquera to fall wide of the target.

FULL-TIME Napoli 2-0 Genoa

In the end a comfortable victory for Napoli, who now look secure in Champions League places. Mazzarri's side now trail Juventus by 9 points with just seven games left to play. Genoa have fallen into the bottom three and face a tough fight to avoid relegation after slipping to another defeat.

Before we leave you there is a final score to confirm from the San Siro, where Atalanta have recorded a memorable 4-3 win over Inter Milan. Wow what a result for the visitors!

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That just about does it for Sports Mole's Serie A coverage this weekend. Thanks for joining us and don't forget to return tomorrow night when Lazio and Roma clash in the big derby match at the Olimpico. Goodnight!

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