Khvicha Kvaratskhelia bagged the decisive goal as Napoli returned to winning ways in Serie A with a 2-1 victory over Cagliari.
A frustrating first half was littered with opportunities for Napoli, with their best effort coming from Amir Rrahmani’s header, but the visitors came close through Tommaso Augello and Adam Obert.
The game suddenly kicked into life in the second half with three goals in six minutes when Victor Osimhen fired the hosts ahead, but Leonardo Pavoletti quickly equalised before Kvaratskhelia had the final say to net Napoli’s winner minutes later.
Victory ensured Walter Mazzarri’s side bounced back from two consecutive league losses and moved fourth in the table, while Cagliari continue to linger above the relegation zone.
Napoli had a chance in the opening minutes from a free-kick as Stanislav Lobotka chipped the ball to Kvaratskhelia on the right, who fired wide from a tight angle.
The hosts dominated the early stages as Osimhen tested Simone Scuffet twice and they broke from a Cagliari corner but Matteo Politano’s shot was deflected for a corner.
The winger then had an effort scooped up by Scuffet as the hosts continued to push for the opener, coming close again when Edoardo Goldaniga stuck out a leg to block Osimhen’s shot.
Cagliari had a great chance in the 21st minute when a corner was cleared as far as Augello, who fired from the edge of the box but the ball was deflected just wide of the post.
Napoli came close again in the 29th minute as Politano floated a free-kick to Rrahmani on the right, but his header smashed off the far post before being cleared and they were frustrated again when Jens Cajuste cut in from the right and fired over.
Cagliari had a brilliant opportunity from the break as Antoine Makoumbou launched a fantastic cross-field pass to Nahitan Nandez, but Alex Meret did well to rush forward and make the save.
The visitors had a chance just seconds into the second half but Obert’s effort was held by Meret and Napoli’s frustrations continued when Frank Anguissa’s powerful effort sailed over the bar.
The hosts eventually found the opener in the 69th minute when Osimhen’s header was palmed away by Scuffet and despite his best efforts, the ball smashed off the post and into the net.
Napoli’s lead was shortlived as Cagliari captain Pavoletti came back to haunt his former club, bundling in Zito Luvumbo’s cross from close range to level just three minutes later.
However, Napoli suddenly retook the lead in style in the 75th minute as Osimhen kept the ball with some superb skills before passing low across the six-yard box for Kvaratskhelia to smash home at the far post.
Politano then had a goal ruled out for offside before the visitors had a great chance to level in the final minutes when Alberto Dossena headed over the bar.