Napoli 5-1 Empoli: Dries Mertens scores hat-trick
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 02/11/18 10:17pm
Dries Mertens scored a hat-trick as Napoli trounced Empoli 5-1 to narrow the gap to Serie A leaders Juventus to three points.
A rapid ninth-minute counter-attack saw Kalidou Koulibaly provide the final pass that Lorenzo Insigne collected and clipped beyond goalkeeper Ivan Provedel at Stadio San Paolo.
Empoli had a Luca Antonelli effort ruled out for offside before, in the 38th minute, Mertens dribbled into the box and unleashed an angled drive that stunned Provedel.
Francesco Caputo briefly made it a contest again when he beat the offside trap and Orestis Karnezis to halve the deficit, but the irrepressible Mertens re-established Napoli's two-goal lead.
This time he did not need to enter the penalty area, instead lofting a first-time strike over Provedel.
Empoli's heads dropped and substitute Arkadiusz Milik added a fourth at the end of another fast break before Mertens claimed the match ball thanks to an assist from Insigne.