Goran Pandev rewarded the Napoli manager for giving him a start by winning a penalty on the first goal and then assisting on the second goal in Napoli’s 2:0 home victory over Palermo.
The Napoli manager Walter Mazzarri decided to start Pandev over Ezequiel Lavezzi in the attacking trident where he was joined by Edinson Cavani and Marek Hamšík. That proved to be a good decision as Goran played a part in both goals for Napoli and helped his team win the Derby delle Due Sicilie over Palermo. In the 16th minute, Pandev’s cross hit the hand of Palermo defender Milan Milanović inside the area and the referee pointed to the penalty spot which was converted by Edinson Cavani for his 23rd goal of the season. Pandev then displayed great skill and vision on the second Napoli goal in the 35th minute when he fought off his marker and sent a great ball to Marek Hamšík who nicely chested down the ball before firing a shot past the Palermo keeper for a 2:0 lead.
Pandev was eventually substituted in the 76th minute by Ezequiel Lavezzi and left the field with the Napoli fans clapping their hands in appreciation of his contribution during the game.
With the win, Napoli remained in the all important third position, the last spot on the Serie A table that leads to the Champions League. Napoli is competing for third place with Inter, Udinese and Lazio as all of those teams had 55 points entering Round 36 of league play. Napoli is now three points clear with today’s victory but the other three teams play tomorrow and will attempt to keep up with Napoli since there are two more league games remaining on the schedule after the completion of this round.