Napoli extended their lead at the top of the table to 13 points after a hard-fought victory over Roma, sealed by a Victor Osimhen stunner and the late Giovanni Simeone turn off the bench.
The Partenopei reached the midway stage of the season with a 12-point lead at the top of the table and had the chance to extend it here, with a full squad to choose from as Kvicha Kvaratskhelia returned from illness.
Nicolò Zaniolo and Rick Karsdorp were frozen out after requesting transfers, with Zeki Celik suspended and Georginio Wijnaldum injured.
Kvaratskhelia cut inside from the left and drilled low to force Rui Patricio into a save at the near bottom corner, but Kim Min-jae almost scored an extraordinary own goal when he anticipated both Tammy Abraham and Alex Meret to a ball into the box, his header grazing the upright of an empty net.
Napoli took the lead with a simply fantastic goal. Mario Rui under pressure threaded through for Kvaratskhelia down the left, he floated a cross to the back post, where Osimhen controlled with his chest, juggled it off his right knee and volleyed into the roof of the net from a tight angle with his right boot.
Lorenzo Pellegrini’s shot was charged down and the Paulo Dybala follow-up over, while Osimhen nodded just off target from a Chucky Lozano cross.
Osimhen went down the right to whip in a cross for Kvaratskhelia, but Dybala back defending as the last man did just enough to put the Georgian off the tap-in.
Roma had their best chance on the stroke of half-time when Pellegrini pulled back from the by-line, Leonardo Spinazzola let it bounce and his half-volley from the edge of the box was palmed round the post by Alex Meret.
Stephan El Shaarawy came off the bench and could’ve gone for goal, but instead tried to head it back to Abraham, while Kvaratskhelia’s first touch let him down on what would’ve been a remarkable team goal including Osimhen’s dummy and Lozano skipping away from Chris Smalling.
Kim Min-jae made a decisive header to anticipate Smalling on a free kick, then from the resulting corner Meret made a one-handed save on Bryan Cristante’s header, with Amir Rrahmani flinging himself in the way of a Roger Ibanez follow-up
That Roma corner was then cleared to spark a Napoli counter-attack with three against two, but Lozano got greedy and went for goal himself, palmed over the bar by Rui Patricio.
Abraham sprinted forward only for Meret to rush out and smother at his feet and the Roma striker went down clutching the back of his thigh, although it might’ve just been cramp.
Roma did get a deserved equaliser when Nicola Zalewski whipped a deep cross from the right to the back post, where El Shaarawy caught Lozano napping to flick it in from close range with the outside of the right boot.
However, Napoli came back at them and after a period of possession, managed to spread the Roma defence enough to create that little yard of space.