Stadio San Paolo, Napoli, Italy
Napoli kept the pressure on second-placed Roma in the race for automatic Champions League qualification as they thrashed Fiorentina 4-1 at home at the Stadio San Paolo.
First-half goals from Kalidou Koulibaly and Lorenzo Insigne gave the Neapolitans a 2-0 half-time lead before a second-half Dries Mertens brace, either side of a Josip Iličić strike, ensured the Neapolitans moved within a point of the Giallorossi.
The hosts started well and took the lead in the eighth minute when a Faouzi Ghoulam corner was met by Marek Hamšík, whose header was palmed away by Ciprian Tătărușanu into the path of Koulibaly, who tapped home the loose ball.
The Neapolitans should have doubled their lead in the 17th minute when Mertens was played through on-goal by Jorginho, the Belgian rounded Tătărușanu before firing the ball wide from a tight-angle.
In the 25th minute Napoli very nearly made it two when Mertens curled an effort at-goal from-range that struck the post with Tătărușanu well-beaten.
Four minutes later the visitors went close when Iličić cut-inside to curl a deflected effort at-goal that Pepe Reina brilliantly tipped behind.
In the 35th minute the hosts doubled their lead when Mertens sent Insigne through on-goal and the winger fired home into the bottom-corner.
Twelve minutes into the second-half the Neapolitans extended their lead when a Napoli corner caused havoc for Tătărușanu, who miscued his punch, allowing Mertens to fire the loose ball home.
Three minutes later the Violas pulled a goal back when substitute Cristian Tello surged forward before pulling the ball back to Iličić, who swept home.
A minute later Fiorentina went close to reducing the deficit again when Federico Bernardeschi fired an effort just wide from-range.
Three minutes later, Napoli restored their three-goal cushion through Mertens, who initially found Hamšík, whose effort was palmed away by Tătărușanu into the path of the Belgian, who tapped home.
In the 69th minute, Fiorentina went close on three occasions. First, Tello cut-inside to fire an effort at-goal that Reina palmed away before the keeper was forced into action again when he palmed away a deflected strike from Iličić, who cut-inside. Matías Vecino then had a good chance when he met a fine cross from Bernardeschi with a header, but he headed wide from close-range.
In the 83rd minute the visitors had another good chance to reduce the deficit when Bernardeschi sent substitute Khouma Babacar through on-goal, the striker had just Reina to beat but the keeper smothered the effort behind.
The result meant that Napoli remained in third but now moved onto 83 points, a point behind second-placed Roma and two behind leaders Juventus. Fiorentina remained in seventh on 59 points.