Napoli in six-goal thriller, Balotelli saves Milan

Sat Dec 7, 2013 6:42pm EST
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By Terry Daley

ROME (Reuters) - Two goals in three minutes from Napoli's Goran Pandev were not enough to secure victory as his side threw away a two-goal lead to draw 3-3 at home to Udinese in an end-to-end Serie A thriller on Saturday.

In the day's other game, a stunning late free kick by Mario Balotelli, his second goal of the match, helped AC Milan snatch a 2-2 draw at Livorno.

Rafael Benitez's Napoli stay third with 32 points from 15 games, two points behind AS Roma and eight adrift of leaders Juventus, who beat Bologna 2-0 on Friday and look an even stronger bet for their third consecutive league title.

"We have to improve," said Benitez. "We scored two goals and had control of the game before making a mistake at a corner.

"We're the ones who have to improve and stop making mistakes. If we manage to score as many goals as we did tonight we need to be better at the back."

Pandev tapped in the opening goal in the 38th minute after showing delicate control.

He quickly made it 2-0 when Gonzalo Higuain charged to the byline and pulled the ball back for the Macedonian forward, who spun well before guiding in his sixth league goal of the season.

Napoli defender Federico Fernandez let Udinese back into the game with an embarrassing own goal seconds before halftime when he clipped in a tame Thomas Heurtaux header.   Continued...

Udinese's Dusan Basta (L) celebrates with his team mates after scoring against Napoli during their Italian Serie A soccer match at San Paolo stadium in Naples December 7, 2013. REUTERS/Ciro De Luca