It should have been a simple win for Napoli, hosting AC Milan. But the partenopei never make things easy on themselves. Instead, they squandered their chances, and Milan made them pay, coming back to take a point at the San Siro.
Napoli took the early lead through a rather unspectacular shot by Gokhan Inler. In the 4th minute, the Swiss let fly with one of his typical speculative shots, about 21 yards from goal. This one wasn't particularly sharp or strong, but it tripped up Christian Abbiati. The Milan goalkeeper went to his left and the ball rolled past on his right, giving Napoli a 1-0 lead.
The visitors had an excellent chance to equalize in the 10th minute. With the Napoli defense in utter disarray, Riccardo Montolivo found himself in plenty of space. The midfielder manage to drag his shot just wide of the far post, however.
The next twenty minutes were more of the same, with Milan getting plenty of opportunities, but never really troubling Morgan De Sanctis. Stephan El Shaarawy placed his shot wide. Antonio Nocerino tried his luck from distance, but put the shot well high.
It was surprising, then, that it was Napoli who scored in the 30th minute. Lorenzo Insigne received the ball, turned, and shot -- another shot that probably should not have gone in. But Francesco Acerbi got a touch, and the deflected shot rolled through Abbiati's legs.
Napoli should have put the match out of reach three minutes later, when Insigne found himself free inside the Milan area. But for some unfathomable reason, he pulled back for Cavani, who had Philippe Mexes close behind. Mexes prevented Cavani from getting off a good shot, and the score stayed 2-0.
The home side were really ruing their missed opportunity when Milan cut the deficit in half in the 44th minute. The goal was stunning: El Shaarawy took just one touch to launch a lovely volley from the top of the area over De Sanctis's head.
Milan came out fighting in the second half, but luck and chance -- and only the tiniest bit of skill -- managed to keep Napoli on top until the very end of the match. Nocerino made another wasteful shot, going high again. Bojan Krkic had a chance for the equalizer, but Hugo Campagnaro managed to swipe the ball off his toe.
On the other end, Napoli were absolutely wasteful, and were made to pay for their mistakes. Marek Hamsik should have given Napoli their third goal in the 66th minute, but dragged his shot wide. In the 79th minute, Napoli peppered Abbati's goal with shots, but the keeper alleviated the danger when he knocked aside Cavani's ball with his foot.
Walter Mazzarri made the interesting decision of removing Lorenzo Insigne in favor of Giandomenico Mesto, a right back. The decision backfired. Massimiliano Allegri reinforced his attack and it was substitute Robinho that made the difference. The Brazilian sent a perfect ball through to El Shaarawy, who easily got away from Alessandro Gamberini to score his second, in the 83rd minute.