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Magnificent, sensational or as the Italian’s like to say strepitoso or resounding, just some of the words  that best describe Napoli striker Edinson Cavani’s display at a packed San Paolo on Sunday evening after his treble strike  destroyed woeful Juventus.

Even by his own high standards, this will go down as Il Matador’s finest hour in a Napoli shirt since his 20 million euro move from Palermo in the summer. Two headed goals, the first, after 21 minutes following fine work by Christian Maggio on the right, the second just six minutes later after a wonderful cross from the left from Andrea Dossena and a third nine minutes after the interval, a fantastic backwards scissors kick at the far post, to connect with a wonderful assist from Marik Hamsik. Those are the bare facts of a game that has surely singled out Walter Mazzarri’s team as genuine title contenders and left his opposite number, Luigi Del Neri searching for answers as to why his team capitulated so easy in a match that had so much significance as we go into the second-half of the campaign.

Four days earlier, Mazzarri’s men had trudged off the field at the Giuseppe Meazza having been easily brushed aside by Inter so on Sunday evening the coach wanted a response from his side. He got it and led by Cavani, the Vesuviani’s very own Sir Lancelot, they slayed the Juventus dragon, driving a dagger right into the heart of any title ambitions La Vecchia Signora may have had. But Cavani was not alone, his Argentinean lieutenant, Ezequiel Lavezzi, getting stronger and stronger after his recent injury, played the perfect foil for the Uruguayan hit-man, Andrea Dossena was outstanding on the left hand side as was Christian Maggio on the right. Captain Paolo Cannavaro marshaled his defensive troops perfectly to nullify any threat  posed by Juventus new boy Luca Toni or former Palermo striker Amauri, still without a league goal since last April. The only time the Napoli rearguard was breached, referee Emidio Morganti rightly ruled that Toni had interfered with Napoli goalkeeper Morgan De Sanctis and the goal was chalked off. Around 70 thousand tifosi will keep this match etched in their memories for many a year, the dream of a third scudetto is now firmly in the minds of the Neapolitan public.

The surprise result of week 19 surely came in the capital as Lecce beat Lazio 1-2 to record their first away win of the campaign, spoil the home sides birthday celebrations and earn a priceless three points in their quest for Serie A survival. Even the most fervent supporter of the Salentini must have feared the worst but a lucky break four minutes from half-time when a shot from Brazilian striker Jeda, cannoned off the post and rebounded off the back of Lazio goalkeeper Fernando Muslera and into the net to give the visitors a shock lead, set the tone for the rest of the afternoon. Two minutes after the interval, the home side were level courtesy of a goal from Stefano Mauri, however, replays suggested the Italian international was in an offside position as the ball was played into the penalty area. Having picked up only one point away from home all season many observers thought that Luigi De Canio’s men would collapse under the weight of injustice but far from it, led by their inspirational Uruguayan midfielder Carlos Grossmüller, the Puglians always looked dangerous on the counter-attack and 17 minutes from time, the 27-year-old finished off a fantastic move to give his side all three points and record their first win on the road this season. De Canio has a temporary reprieve from the mounting pressure surrounding his future at the Stadio Via Del Mare, next up, a home game against league leaders Milan.

September 27 2010 is not a special date in the Serie A calender unless you are a supporter of Bari that is as this was the last time I Galletti won a home league fixture. Sunday’s 0-2 loss to Bologna was a brutal blow to the club’s survival aspirations after the euphoria of last Thursday’s derby win in Lecce. The hero of four days earlier, on loan striker Stefano Okaka, turned villain on Sunday missing two guilt edged chances in each half to compound a miserable day for coach Gianpiero Ventura. The club are now five points from safety and if things couldn’t get any worse, they face a trip to Turin in week 20 to face a Juventus side who will be licking their wounds after Sunday evening’s mauling in Naples.

Palermo were held to a goalless draw in Chievo on a playing surface that was simply unacceptable for top-flight football. A frustrating day for Delio Rossi’s men was best summed up by an incredible decision by match referee Sebastiano Peruzzo not to award the visitors a penalty when Argentinean midfielder Javier Pastore, was quite clearly pulled down inside the area by Chievo’s Luca Rigoni. Minutes later, Pastore left the field with what looked like a problem to his calf, the Sicilians will be praying it’s nothing too serious. Tuesday afternoon sees an immediate re-match between the two as Chievo visit the Stadio Renzo Barbera in the last 16 of the Coppa Italia, Rossi looks set to rest several of his players ahead of next weekends trip to Sardinia to face Cagliari.

Catania lost 1-2 at home to Inter on Sunday but took a lot of positives out of a game that they dominated for long periods. For the second time on four days, Gli Elefanti were left empty handed after playing some wonderful football. After a dull opening 45 minutes at the Stadio Angelo Massimino against the reigning champions, the second period turned into a personal duel between Catania’s Argentinean striker Maxi Lopez and Inter shot stopper Luca Castellazzi who repelled anything the 26-year-old striker threw at him. Lopez was influential in the home sides opening goal, taking advantage of some uncertainty in the visitors back line to lay the ball back for Alejandro Gomez to put the islanders in front. The old saying that a side is most vulnerable after taking the lead was never more in evidence as within eight minutes the visitors had turned the match on its head thanks to two goals from Esteban Cambiasso - a cruel blow for coach Marco Giampaolo who now takes his side to Turin for Thursday evening’s Coppa Italia last 16 tie against Juventus.

Robert Acquafresca, remember him? Parma certainly will after the 23-year-old hit a first-half brace to give Cagliari a much needed away win at the Stadio Ennio Tardini. Once tipped to be the next big thing in Italian football, Aquafresca has had a torrid couple of years with both unsettled spells at various clubs and debilitating injuries that have robbed him of his best form. Sunday afternoon’s wonderfully taken goals will hopefully be the catalyst to relaunch his career and bring him back into the reckoning for International  selection. The win, only the club’s second on the road this season, was a much needed boost for coach Roberto Donadoni as the islanders ease their relegation fears. Next up for Donadoni, a home fixture against Palermo.

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