Napoli's Cavani nets hat-trick in 4-1 win against Roma
Edinson Cavani relaunched his campaign to finish Serie A's top scorer -- and Napoli's first since Diego Maradona -- with a hat-trick in an emphatic 4-1 win over Roma on Sunday.
If he succeeds, the Uruguayan will emulate former Napoli hero Maradona, who helped the Partenopei to their two league titles to date and remains the only Napoli player to finish as top scorer in Serie A.
"I'm happy to be taking the match ball home after this hat-trick," Cavani told Sky Italia after the match.
"It was a great performance by everyone tonight and helps put our recent poor spell behind us. We've shown that we can be professional and fight for important objectives this season."
Prior to the winter break Napoli had slipped to fifth place at 10 points behind champions and leaders Juventus having kept pace with the Old Lady of Turin for the first 12 weeks of the season.
But in their first game back Walter Mazzarri's side proved a class above the visitors from Rome, who were a goal behind after just four minutes when Cavani latched on to Goran Pandev's through ball to beat fellow Uruguayan Mauro Goicoechea in the Roma goal with the outside of his foot.
Cavani scored two more, in the 48th and 70th minutes, before Roma reduced arrears thanks to Argentine striker Pablo Osvaldo in the 72nd minute.
Any hope of a late fightback was quashed, however, when Roma midfielder Miralem Pjanic was red carded for a rash challenge, his second bookable offence, two minutes later and Christian Maggio made it 4-1 when he bundled the ball over the line in the dying minutes.
Napoli's 12th win of the campaign pushed them up to third at the expense of Fiorentina and are now only seven points behind Juventus, who suffered a shock 2-1 defeat at home to Sampdoria.
Led by Maradona, Napoli won their only Serie A titles to date in 1987 and 1990 when the Argentine star was arguably at the peak of his career.
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