An Edinson Cavani hat-trick handed SSC Napoli a 3-0 win over SS Lazio to keep pace with Serie A leaders Juventus as AC Milan finally broke their San Siro jinx by beating Cagliari 2-0 at home on Wednesday.
Cavani’s first-half brace and his third goal just after the hour meant Walter Mazzarri’s side join Juventus in remaining unbeaten after five games and put the Uruguayan top of the league scoring charts on five goals.
“I’m happy to have scored three goals, but the fact we’ve won is what matters,” said Cavani, who brushed off suggestions Napoli could reproduce another challenge for the scudetto. “I don’t know if it will be a duel for the title with Juventus, but I do know it’s too early to make the call.”
Juventus had failed to build on their two-point lead on Napoli on Tuesday when they dropped their first points of the season in a 0-0 draw away to an impressive ACF Fiorentina.
Juventus and Napoli now sit joint top with 13 points and boast the exact same goals for-against figures.
With Inter winning 2-0 away to AC Chievo Verona and UC Sampdoria drawing away to AS Roma, it means Lazio drop to fifth, with AC Milan moving up to 10th place after their first home victory of the season.
Napoli had managed to beat Lazio only once in their past seven league encounters and early on it appeared the visitors had opened the scoring after Germany international Miroslav Klose bundled the ball into the net, but after Napoli players reacted furiously, Klose admitted he had given the ball a helping hand over the line and the goal was disallowed.
It took Cavani only 19 minutes to settle the nerves when he unleashed a long-distance missile which crucially deflected off Michael Ciani to beat the helpless Federico Marchetti.
Cavani grabbed his second by beating the offside trap to send a rocket over the top of the outstretched Marchetti on the half-hour mark.
The Uruguayan then ran on goal unchallenged and dribbled around Marchetti to score his third just after the hour mark.
Cavani could have had a fourth from the spot after second-half substitute Lorenzo Insigne won a penalty, but the Uruguayan skied his effort over the bar.
While Inter grabbed an important win away to Chievo to move up to fourth, it was city rivals AC Milan who grabbed the San Siro bragging rights.
Neither team had won at the shared stadium this season, leading Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri to come under huge pressure in recent weeks.
Ironically, the 45-year-old coach was serving a touchline ban for protests made to match officials on Sunday when his team finally turned the corner.
Italy under-21 international striker Stephan El Shaarawy scored both goals for the Rossoneri in a match which saw Brazilian Robinho, who has finally recovered from injury, come off the bench in the second half.
Allegri has shown a lot of faith in El Shaarawy this season and the young Italian was quick to dedicate his goals to his coach.
“Absolutely, we’re all right behind him,” El Shaarawy said. “Allegri has shown a lot of confidence in me. I’m young, but I always try to give my best and tonight it finally paid off.”
Roma, who on Monday were handed a 3-0 win by league chiefs after the enforced postponement of their away match to Cagliari, took a first-half lead through club icon Francesco Totti.
He scored his 216th Serie A goal to sit level third in the all-time scoring charts.