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Napoli recovery ruins Lăcătuş's return

FC Steaua Bucureşti 3-3 SSC Napoli
Edinson Cavani equalised in the eighth minute of added time as the visitors fought back from three goals down.

Napoli recovered from 3-0 down to draw 3-3
Napoli recovered from 3-0 down to draw 3-3 ©Getty Images

Ten-man FC Steaua Bucureşti began life under Marius Lăcătuş by scoring their first goals against Italian opposition, though it mattered little as SSC Napoli recovered from three down to draw the UEFA Europa League Group K encounter.

Having never registered a goal in 11 previous meetings with Serie A teams, Steaua turned the history book on its head by striking three times in the opening 16 minutes. An own goal from Emilson Cribari, a speculative Cristian Tănase free-kick and Pantelis Kapetanos put the hosts in total command.

After Kapetanos was dismissed on 31 minutes, Napoli responded through Luigi Vitale on the cusp of half-time and via Marek Hamšík on 73 minutes, before Edinson Cavani made a sustained period of pressure tell in the eighth minute of added time.

Lăcătuş, who started his third spell in charge of the club on Monday, watched Steaua take the lead on two minutes when Iulian Apostol's shot was deflected in by Cribari. That prompted Napoli coach Walter Mazzarri on to the touchline to urge calm from his shell-shocked charges, who fell further behind as Tănase's lofted free-kick from the left sailed over stranded Partenopei goalkeeper Morgan De Sanctis.

Kapetanos capped a remarkable start by turning in Éder Bonfim's cross but soured his night when he was dismissed following an altercation with Fabiano Santacroce. Vitale mounted what Steaua fans might have feared was the start of a Napoli comeback, turning in the rebound after José Ernesto Sosa's free-kick struck the post, yet it was the hosts who continued to threaten.

Bănel Nicoliţă – from a cross – and Tănase struck the woodwork in a matter of seconds of each other, before Ezequiel Lavezzi responded for the visitors by flashing a shot wide. Hamšík set up a dramatic finale by rifling in Napoli's second, setting the stage for Cavani to stun the home crowd with virtually the last kick of the game.

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