Goran Pandev struck twice as Napoli went back to the top of the Serie A table with a 2-0 win at Genoa.
Pandev’s first goals of the season came inside the opening 25 minutes to ensure Rafael Benitez’s side were immediately on track to bounce back from their shock 1-1 midweek draw with newly promoted Sassuolo.
Genoa improved after half-time, veteran Alberto Gilardino skimming the post, but Napoli’s win moved them a point clear of Roma, who could reclaim top position on Sunday when they travel to Cagliari. Pandev blasted an early effort wide in an indication of what was to come.
Jose Reina still needed to be alert before then, clutching a straight-forward Luca Antonini header to his chest before displaying greater athleticism to keep out a Sime Vrsaljko cross-shot.
Pandev then grabbed the opening goal on 14 minutes after intercepting Jurai Kucka’s ill-advised back pass before beating Mattia Perin from the edge of the area.
The Macedonia international then made it 2-0 on 25 minutes although this time it was the creativity of his team-mate, Lorenzo Insigne, who set him up.
Insigne’s clever assist gave Pandev room to shoot from 20 yards out and give Napoli all the breathing space they would require.
Genoa showed glimpses of at least pulling back one goal in their improved second-half showing, although Jose Callejon spurned two early chances after the break to make it 3-0. Gilardino then skimmed the far post with a header on the hour and Emanuele Calaio shot high and wide.
Reina then plucked a Ioannis Fetfatzidis strike out of the top corner and blocked Gilardino at close quarters in injury time to ensure Genoa found no late reason for optimism.