30.04.2015 22:53 h

Own-goals galore in Napoli defeat

Napoli's prospects of a podium finish in Serie A were dealt a blow on Thursday as Rafa Benitez's side slumped to a 4-2 defeat at Empoli in a game featuring three own-goals.

The southern side had won their last three matches to increase the pressure on Roma in the battle for Champions League qualification but defeat in Tuscany a day after Rudi Garcia's side beat Sassuolo 3-0 has left Napoli five points adrift of the top three with five games left.

Empoli had gone four games without a win but took the lead at the Carlo Castellani stadium through an early Massimo Maccarone strike and doubled their advantage in comical fashion just before the interval.

Napoli goalkeeper Mariano Andujar parried a Mirko Valdifiori cutback off the face of his team-mate Miguel Britos and could do nothing to stop the ball rebounding into the net.

Things got worse for the visitors when Riccardo Saponara made it 3-0 right on half-time, although another own-goal by Vincent Laurini gave Napoli some hope in the second half.

Less than 10 minutes remained when Spain defender Raul Albiol became the latest player to put through his own goal and ended any hopes Benitez's men had of snatching a result.

Marek Hamsik did pull another goal back in stoppage time, but Napoli must now lift themselves quickly before hosting AC Milan at the weekend and then going into the first leg of their Europa League semi-final against Dnipro of Ukraine next week.