MILAN (Reuters) – Napoli splashed their way to a 2-1 win at Genoa in Serie A on Saturday, defying a pitch made almost unplayable by a torrential downpour early in the second half.
Christian Kouame gave Genoa a halftime lead but, after play was halted for around 10 minutes early in the second half until the rain stopped, Fabian Ruiz levelled and Genoa’s Davide Biraschi put through his own net.
It was a morale-boosting win for Napoli who showed tremendous character and adapted impressively to a pitch where the ball repeatedly got stuck in pools of water.
Napoli moved into second place with 28 points from 12 games, three behind leaders Juventus who visit AC Milan on Sunday.
Lorenzo Insigne hit the post for Napoli but Genoa went ahead against the run of play in the 20th minute with a header from Kouame, who easily outjumped Elseid Hysaj to meet Romulo’s cross from the right.
The pitch deteriorated rapidly after halftime and, although it seemed the conditions would hamper Napoli’s passing game, the visitors came back stronger from the interruption.
Despite the puddles, they managed to level with a typical slick passing move as Dries Mertens backheeled Allan’s pass into the path of Fabian, who planted a left-foot shot past Ionut Radu in the 62nd minute.
Four minutes from the end, Mario Rui fired a low free kick into the area and Biraschi, under pressure, turned the ball into his own net.
Genoa, who suffered their third straight defeat and remained winless in five games under new coach Ivan Juric, protested furiously, claiming Biraschi was pushed, but the referee confirmed the goal after a VAR check.
(Writing by Brian Homewood; Editing by Ian Chadband)