In Marek Hamsik, Napoli may have its latest successor to club great Diego Maradona. However, his goal on Saturday didn’t help Napoli move up the Serie A table in a 1-1 draw at home with Lazio. Napoli has won just two of its past eight matches.
But Hamsik, who broke Maradona’s Napoli record of 81 Serie A goals in September, moved a step closer to matching the Argentine’s club record of 115 in all competitions.
In his 10th season at the club, Hamsik is 12 off the mark set by Maradona, who led Napoli to its only two league titles in 1987 and 1990.
“I’m happy, 103 goals is a good achievement, but tonight I would have preferred to be celebrating with the three points,” Hamsik said.
“We deserved to win. We were better, we created a lot but we didn’t manage to finish off all our chances. … But the team is doing well, we’re entertaining, we never give up. We’re not rewarded for everything we create on the pitch but we hope that in the future it will turn out better for us.”
There were plenty of chances in an entertaining first half at Stadio San Paolo but no goals, and it needed a moment of brilliance to break the deadlock.
Hamsik provided it seven minutes after the interval, bursting into the area and confusing the Lazio defenders with some nimble footwork before firing across into the bottom right corner.
But its lead lasted just 87 seconds before Keita Balde Diao leveled with a fierce, low shot which squirmed under Napoli goalkeeper Pepe Reina, who should have done better.
It was Keita’s fourth goal, as many as he scored last season in 31 appearances.
Napoli remained fifth, a point behind Lazio and AC Milan, which visits Palermo on Sunday.
Serie A leader Juventus travels to Chievo Verona, and is six points ahead of Napoli and four above second-place Roma, which hosts Bologna.
TORINO 5 CAGLIARI 1
Torino turned on the style as it snapped a run of disappointing results with an emphatic win.
The teams were level on points in mid-table before Andrea Belotti launched Torino less than two minutes in. A swerving strike from Adem Ljajic in the 11th minute and a powerful shot from Marco Benassi across into the top left corner gave Torino a commanding lead.
Federico Melchiorri pulled one back for Cagliari before halftime with a downward header.
Torino scored again six minutes after the break when Belotti’s volley was saved by Marco Storari but Llajic collected the rebound and pulled the ball back to Baselli, who blasted it in.
Minutes later, Panagiotis Tachtsidis tripped Belotti just inside the area. Cagliari midfielder Daniele Dessena was sent off for dissent, and Belotti converted the resulting penalty.
Torino, which was coming off a three-match winless run, moved up to sixth, two points behind Napoli.
Cagliari remained ninth.