UEFA.com works better on other browsers
For the best possible experience, we recommend using Chrome, Firefox or Microsoft Edge.

Cavani hat-trick keeps Napoli hopes alive

FC Utrecht 3-3 SSC Napoli
Edinson Cavani hit all three goals as Napoli came back from 3-1 down to end the hosts' hopes of Group K progress.

Frank Demouge of Utrecht (left) tussles with Napoli's Luigi Vitale
Frank Demouge of Utrecht (left) tussles with Napoli's Luigi Vitale ©Getty Images

An inspired Edinson Cavani scored a hat-trick to help SSC Napoli battle back from two goals behind and earn a 3-3 draw that ends FC Utrecht's hopes of advancing from Group K.

The home side had earlier established a 3-1 lead, before Cavani halved the deficit just before half-time. The Uruguayan international's third after 70 minutes earned a point for Napoli who remain tied on four points with Utrecht, two behind second-placed FC Steaua Bucureşti. Napoli will go into their final fixture at home to Steaua knowing victory will take them through.

In a frantic opening, Cavani gave Napoli a fifth-minute lead when he guided the ball beyond Michel Vorm into the top right-hand corner from what seemed an impossible angle. Utrecht hit back immediately through rising star Ricky van Wolfswinkel. The imposing forward showed all his predatory instincts to nip in front of Morgan De Sanctis and score.

The hosts then took the lead when Tim Cornelisse was fouled by Luigi Vitale, Van Wolfswinkel keeping his composure with the ensuing spot kick as he sent the goalkeeper the wrong way. Ten minutes before the break, Utrecht had a third and Cornelisse was once again the catalyst, crossing for an unmarked Frank Demouge to power an unstoppable header past De Sanctis. A pulsating first period culminated with Cavani's second of the match, however. As he attempted to cut inside his marker, the ball fell rather fortuitously to the striker who nevertheless finished with aplomb.

Although Demouge and Edouard Duplan had half-chances early in the second period, Napoli completed their comeback when Alje Schut's foul on Ezequiel Lavezzi resulted in the game's second penalty. Cavani confidently slotted in to complete his hat-trick and Napoli might have taken all three points but defender Emilson Cribari's header rattled a post and Hassan Yebda was foiled by Vorm.