MX23RW : Friday, April 19 03:02:35| >> :600:123588453:123588453:
May 18, 2015 at 8pm UK at ​Stadio San Paolo
Napoli
3-2
Cesena
Mertens (19', 57'), Gabbiadini (20')
FT(HT: 2-2)
Defrel (15', 45')

Result: Champions League-chasing Napoli make hard work of relegated Cesena

Champions League-chasing Napoli come from behind against a spirited Cesena side to secure a hard-fought 3-2 win in their Serie A clash at the Stadio San Paolo.

Napoli's quest to make the Champions League remains alive after the Partenopei came from behind against a spirited Cesena side to secure a hard-fought 3-2 win in their Serie A clash at the Stadio San Paolo.

Dries Mertens of Napoli celebrates after scoring goal 1-1 during the Serie A match between SSC Napoli - AC Cesena at Stadio San Paolo on May 18, 2015© Getty Images

Gregoire Defrel opened the scoring for the already-relegated visitors on the quarter-hour mark when he latched on to Andrea Tabanelli's incisive through-ball and fired into the bottom-left corner.

It didn't take long for Rafael Benitez's charges to equalise, however, as just four minutes elapsed before Dries Mertens blasted the ball home from two yards out.

Napoli were then ahead just four minutes later when the Belgian goalscorer turned provider to cut the ball back towards the goal, where Manolo Gabbiadini was on hand to slot past Federico Agliardi.

Just as it seemed like the hosts would take a one-goal lead into the break, Defrel struck again right on the stroke of half time after collecting Massimo Volta's pass and firing into the bottom-right corner.

The Partenopei regrouped following the restart and, following several forays forward, edged themselves back into the lead just before the hour mark when Marek Hamsik played in Mertens, who bombed down from the left flank and slotted home.

To their credit, Cesena never capitulated and almost pulled a goal back in the 63rd minute as an audacious overhead kick from Franco Brienza was saved by Mariano Andujar.

Napoli, however, managed to repel their increasingly tired opposition and were able to hold on until the final whistle as they secured all three points.

The result means that the Partenopei sit just three points behind third-placed Lazio with two games to go, while Cesena's fate has already been sealed.

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Napoli's coach Rafa Benitez reacts during the Italian Serie A football match Palermo vs Napoli on February 14, 2015
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