A goal by Colombian striker Duvan Zapata in stoppage-time rescued a 1-1 draw for 10-man SSC Napoli against UC Sampdoria on Monday and was enough to see them return to third place in Serie A.
Zapata’s goal — after Eder had given the hosts the lead in the 57th minute — extended his side’s unbeaten run to 10 games in the league.
However, while they moved above Sampdoria’s city rivals Genoa on goal-difference, they are nine points adrift of leaders and reigning champions Juventus and six off second-placed AS Roma.
Rafael Benitez’s side looked to have lost all hope of getting something from the match when French defender Kalidou Koulibaly was sent off for a second bookable offense in the 85th minute.
However, striker Zapata thought otherwise and he escaped the attention of Djamel Mesbah in the second minute of stoppage-time to score with a diving header.
Benitez, who guided Napoli to a Coppa Italia triumph last season, took comfort from the resilience his players had shown.
“We continued to attack, despite being down to 10 men against 11, and we succeeded in equalizing,” the 54-year-old Spaniard said.
Despite the late goal, Sampdoria, coached by Serbian Sinisa Mihajlovic, who played for them for four years in the 1990s, have still lost just once this season, through a last-minute penalty against Inter.
“That really hurts, but football unfortunately is like that,” 45-year-old Mihajlovic said.
“One moment of lost concentration against a really good side is sufficient to cost you dearly. However, we can take great pride in that we were superior to Napoli,” he said.
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