Higuain scores twice as Napoli go top

‘Arsenal need to be optimistic after Liverpool loss’ – Emery

Napoli leapfrogged Inter Milan to the top of the Serie A standings after striker Gonzalo Higuain scored in either half to lead his side to a 2-1 win over the Nerazzurri. 

Higuain needed just two minutes to put Napoli ahead as he latched on to a loose ball in the box and fired a shot into the top corner. 

Napoli continued to take the attack Inter, but failed to convert their early dominance into further goals.

It wasn’t until the 29th minute that Inter had their first real opportunity to draw level, but midfielder Fredy Guarin's strike flew wide of the post. 

Mauro Icardi and Ivan Perisic also had chances to make it 1-1, but the former’s header was off target, while the latter’s shot went wide of the goal. 

However, with Inter looking more and more confident with each attack, they were dealt a major blow on the stroke of half-time when defender Yuto Nagatomo was sent off in the 44th minute after picking up a second yellow card.

Napoli doubled their lead in the 62nd minute when Higuain managed to hold off two defenders and direct the ball into the far corner. 

Inter reduced the deficit five minutes later as attacking midfielder Adam Ljajic pounced on a loose ball and struck a low shot that beat Napoli goalkeeper Pepe Reina. 

With Inter back in contention, midfielder Marcelo Brozavic nearly scored the equaliser in the 79th minute, but his attempt went just wide of the goal. 

Higuain had an opportunity to give Napoli an unassailable 3-1 lead and complete his hat-trick in the final minute, but his powerful strike was stopped by Inter goalkeeper Samir Handanovic. 

However, Higuain’s failure to convert almost proved costly in injury time, when first Stevan Jovetic's header hit the upright before Reina was forced to parry Miranda's effort onto the post.

Napoli held on to secure the win and now sit at the summit of the standings.