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.
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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.
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.