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2014/2015 Italian Serie A
  • Raffaele Palladino (9')
  • Cristóbal Jorquera (33')
  • Manolo Gabbiadini (28')
  • Dries Mertens (72')

Parma 2-2 Napoli

Relegated Parma put the brakes on Napoli's bid for Champions League football by holding the southerners to a 2-2 draw on Sunday.
The Gialloblu have recently claimed the scalps of Juventus and Udinese despite the fact bankruptcy has left them rooted to the bottom of the Serie A table, and fourth-placed Napoli did not fully heed the warning.
Raffaele Palladino fired Parma ahead, with Cristobal Jorquera restoring their lead after Manolo Gabbiadini plundered an equaliser.
Dries Mertens would force the draw in the second half but Napoli are running out of time to gatecrash the top three with only three games remaining.
Parma's fate was sealed weeks ago but Napoli arrived at the Tardini with plenty to fight for as they plot a return to the Champions League.
That faltering mission met yet another obstacle as Parma fired a ninth-minute opener.
When Mariano Andujar rushed off his line prematurely to deal with a corner, Palladino popped up to clip the ball over the line for a surprise early goal.
Napoli were concerted in their efforts to respond and Gabbiadini almost equalised when put through by Marek Hamsik, his shot deflected out for a corner.
The Azzurri went closer in the 20th minute as Duvan Zapata exploited a snoozing Parma defence to carve out a shooting chance, with only the quick-thinking of Zouhair Feddal denying him a certain goal.
Napoli would draw level two minutes before the half-hour mark, however.
Gabbiadini got his reward for a spirited first-half display after controlling Hamsik's assist and beating Antonio Mirante with an unstoppable drive.
Parma were far from impressed and restored their lead six minutes later.
Jorquera notched his first goal for the Gialloblu after connecting with Massimo Gobbi's sweet pass and the hosts might have made it 3-1 before the break had Palladino not been denied by a brave block from Raul Albiol.
Napoli returned to the pitch more determined than before but squandered two great chances to level before the hour mark.
First, Mertens picked out Hamsik at the near post only for the Slovakian to head straight into Mirante's gloves, and then Parma's goalkeeper scrambled to keep Jose Callejon's effort from crossing the line after it hit a post.
Mirante produced more heroics when twice denying Gonzalo Higuain from close range and, in the 66th minute, he flew across his goalmouth to flick Gabbiadini's curler out for a corner.
He was finally beaten when Mertens brought the ball up the field himself before cutting inside and picking his spot.
Victory was now in sight for Rafael Benitez's men and Mertens looked poised to fire a late winner when Hamsik's shot was pushed into his path by Mirante, but somehow the Belgian winger missed the mark.
ends

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