Napoli vs Torino, final score 2-0: Partenopei punish Torino with two penalties

Paolo Bruno

A pair of first half penalties were enough to see off Torino, who will feel aggrieved by some of the refereeing decisions which contributed to their 2-0 defeat.

Gonzalo Higuain netted twice from the spot to get Napoli back to winning ways, following last week's defeat against AS Roma. Torino will argue about the authenticity of the penalties and had substitute Migjen Basha sent off late on.

With Paolo Cannavaro suspended after being dismissed against Roma and, Juan Camilo Zuniga and Miguel Angel Britos both recovering from recent surgeries, Rafa Benitez was forced to reshuffle his defence. Pablo Armero and Federico Fernandez deputised.

Torino had an injury crisis of their own. Cesare Bovo, Matteo Brighi, Guillermo Rodriguez, Marcelo Larrondo, Alexander Farnerud and Omar El Kaddouri were all out, while Ciro Immobile was suspended. Kamil Glik returned from suspension to captain the side.

After an uneventful opening, Napoli were given a penalty on 13 minutes. Dries Mertens flicked the ball over the Torino defence as he ran into the area. The Belgian seemed to have lost control of the ball as he went over Nicola Bellomo's trailing leg, but the referee still awarded the spot kick. Higuain stepped up and blasted the ball into the roof of the net giving Daniele Padelli no chance.

Higuain almost bagged a second midway through the first half. The forward was given space to run at goal and pulled his shot just wide of the far post. The Argentine threatened again shortly after. He received the ball in the area before hitting a snapshot on the turn, which was well saved by Padelli.

Napoli were given a second penalty, albeit a very harsh one just past the half hour mark. Glik charged down a Fernandez volley with his elbow, but the defender was just trying to get out of the way. The referee initially missed the incident, but was called back by his assistant and awarded the penalty. This time, Higuain sent Padelli the wrong way, slotting into the bottom corner.

Padelli nearly gifted Napoli a third. The goalkeeper made a hash out of clearing to leave Lorenzo Insigne clean through. Danilo D'Ambrosio got a crucial head on the ball to stop Insigne from slotting into an empty net.

Torino finally threatened five minutes before the break. Pepe Reina tipped an Alessio Cerci free kick over, before Glik swivelled to fire over in the box after a corner wasn't cleared.

Unhappy Granata boss Giampiero Ventura was still remonstrating with the referee about both penalty decisions as the teams came out for the second half. Both Cerci and Alessandro Gazzi were replaced by Riccardo Meggiorini and Basha, as the visitors looked to get back into the game.

Despite the changes in personnel, it was Napoli who looked the more likely to net again. Marek Hamsik scuffed a shot from a promising position, before Christian Maggio seemed to be pushed over in the area as he ran past Salvatore Masiello. The referee opted against awarding the home side a third penalty.

Insigne danced his way into a promising position on the hour, before Torino traffic caused the ball to deflect off the attacker's knee, allowing Padelli to clear.

Paulo Vitor Barreto had largely been a non-entity up front for Torino, taking over an hour to force an impression on the game. His first effort on goal was a disappointing one, scuffing a shot wide from the edge of the area. With a midweek round of games coming up, Higuain was replaced by Jose Callejon.

Padelli was at full stretch to turn a Mertens curler wide, while Blerim Dzemaili had a shot charged down by the Torino defence as he shaped to meet Hamsik's pull back. Insigne curled an effort straight into Padelli's gloves as Napoli tried to put the game beyond Torino.

Meggiorini stung Reina's gloves from distance to keep Napoli on their toes. Callejon then took adavantage of a defensive lapse to spring the offside trap and run onto Hamsik's weighted pass. Padelli got a crucial hand to divert the Spaniard's shot wide of the post.

Torino went down to ten men after Basha was dismissed for pulling down Goran Pandev. Basha could have no complaints as he had denied Pandev a clear goalscoring opportunity. An exasperated Ventura was left with his head in his hands on the sidelines.

Napoli: Reina; Maggio, Albiol, Fernandez, Armero; Inler, Dzemaili; Mertens, (Pandev 75) Hamsik, (Zapata 80) Insigne; Higuain (Callejon 68)

Torino: Padelli; Darmian, Glik, Moretti; D'Ambrosio, (Maksimovic 62) Gazzi, (Basha 46) Vives, Bellomo, Masiello; Cerci, (Meggiorini 46) Barreto

Goals: Higuain pens 14, 32 (N)

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