(Reuters) - Marek Hamsik became the top scorer in Napoli’s history, breaking Diego Maradona’s long-standing club record with the winner in a 3-2 victory over Sampdoria on Saturday that extended their lead in Serie A to four points.
Despite finishing the game with 10 men after Mario Rui was sent off following a second bookable offence in the 77th minute, Napoli, who had to come from behind twice, held on at their San Paolo home to move up to 45 points.
It left Napoli four clear of Juventus who take on Roma later on Saturday.
Slovakian international Hamsik proved the toast of Napoli with his 116th goal for the club in all competitions which took him past the 115 of their Argentinian hero Maradona, whose landmark had stood since 1991.
Scoring from close range to give Napoli a 3-2 lead six minutes before halftime, the 30-year-old’s strike was enough to secure the crucial points for the leaders in an action-packed first half.
Gaston Ramirez had stunned the hosts with a powerful strike after just two minutes but Allan equalised from point-blank range in the 16th minute.
The visitors regained the lead in the 27th when Fabio Quagliarella converted a penalty only for Napoli to respond six minutes later with Lorenzo Insigne volleying home a cross from Dries Mertens.
Hamsik, who scored his first goal for the club back in 2007, then made the decisive intervention after being set up by Mertens and, despite the late sending off of Rui, Napoli’s defence suffered few alarms in the second half.
Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Ian Chadband