Napoli returned to winning ways with a 2-1 Serie A victory away at Lecce on Friday, thanks to an own goal from goalkeeper Wladimiro Falcone.
Last weekend, the league leaders were thrashed 4-0 at home by Milan, but they bounced back by defeating a tenacious Lecce, who can probably count themselves unlucky not to take home a share of the spoils.
Giovanni Di Lorenzo put Napoli ahead early on, but Federico Di Francesco equalized shortly after halftime with a fine finish.
However, an own goal gave Luciano Spalletti’s men the win after Mario Rui’s teasing delivery came off Antonino Gallo, with Falcone only able to paw it over the line as Napoli resumed normal service.
Youssef Maleh forced a great save from Alex Meret to palm over his rasping drive as the hosts got off to a fast start.
The visitors gradually gained control of the game, and Di Lorenzo put them ahead in the 18th minute with a powerful header from Kim Min-cross jae’s that flew past Falcone and into the back of the net.
Falcone’s fingertip save deflected Hirving Lozano’s low shot past the post, keeping Napoli’s lead at a single goal at the break, and Lecce leveled shortly after.
A free-kick into the visitors’ box caused havoc, and Assan Ceesay’s header rebounded off the bar before Di Francesco rifled into the bottom corner.
Napoli went on to win in an unusual manner, as a mix-up between Gallo and Falcone from Mario Rui’s cross resulted in the goalkeeper clawing into his own net, giving the league leaders their 24th Serie A victory of the season.
What does it imply? Napoli, despite being below par, battles to victory.
Spalletti’s men were far from brilliant here, but they still managed to pick up three points and move one step closer to their first Serie A title in 23 years.
Napoli have now won their last 19 league matches when leading at halftime, just about enough to overcome a Lecce side that had only 31.4 percent possession but managed two more shots and the same number of attempts on goal as the visitors.