Lecce deal Napoli a late blow
Javier Chevanton's controversial strike two minutes from time lifted Lecce to a key 2-1 victory over Napoli in their fight for survival at the foot of the Serie A table.
Chevanton's late goal - only awarded when the referee overruled his assistant's original decision not to give it - settled a fiery encounter in which both sides had a man sent off in a dramatic second half.
Daniele Corvia opened the scoring for the hosts from the penalty spot on 49 minutes, but the same player received his marching orders for a second yellow card just five minutes later.
Giuseppe Mascara pulled the sides level on 67 minutes and with 16 minutes remaining Edinson Cavani made it ten men apiece as he, too, saw red for a second booking.
The entertaining contest looked set to end in stalemate until Chevanton's dramatic late intervention, and Lecce will now be hoping Sampdoria draw a blank in their late kick-off against Genoa to ensure they remain above the drop zone heading into the final two games of the season.
The result also had implications at the other end of the table, with defeat dealing a blow to Napoli's hopes of pipping Inter Milan to the runners-up spot in the final standings. Walter Mazzarri's third-placed side now trail Inter by four points with just six games left to play.
A cagey first half produced only a handful of scoring chances, with Giuseppe Vives' wayward volley the best Lecce could manage while Napoli threatened only with a tame Marek Hamsik shot from outside the area. But if the fans felt short-changed at the break, their appetite for action will have been sated by a breathless second half.
The action sparked into life four minutes after the restart when Lecce's Ruben Olivera was brought down by Hugo Campagnaro in the area and Corvia stepped up to tuck away the penalty kick. But delight turned to despair for Corvia on 54 minutes when his bad foul on Ezequiel Lavezzi resulted in a second booking an early bath.
Napoli made the hosts pay to the full midway through the half when Juan Camilo Zuniga's cross from the left was nodded home by Mascara. But as the hosts before them, the joy for Mazzarri's men was short-lived with a red card swiftly following the goal as Cavani saw yellow for the second time after a clumsy tackle on Olivera.
But the match still had one more key twist to deliver, and it arrived in the 88th minute. David Di Michele picked out Chevanton in space outside the area, and the Uruguayan did the rest with a fantastic long-range half-volley which crashed in off the underside of the crossbar.
Although the assistant referee seemed reluctant to give the goal, referee Paolo Valeri correctly intervened to ensure the hosts claimed three vital points.