Benitez leads his side to three straight wins ahead of Champions League opener.
Much of the talk ahead of the Serie A season was concerned with which side would be capable of preventing Juventus from achieving a “three-peat”.
Having finished as runners-up last year, Napoli were tipped by many to be their strongest challengers, and Rafa Benitez’s men have yet to disappoint as their 2-0 win against Atalanta on Saturday night clinched their third consecutive win.
The Partenopei now stand alone at the top of the table, dependant on the outcome of Roma’s trip to Parma on Monday night, but the signs are undoubtedly positive for the southern giants.
Gonzalo Higuain netted his first competitive goal in front of a rapturous San Paolo crowd, but it was the introduction of Marek Hamsik which ultimately turned the game.
Benitez opted to rotate ahead of the clash with Dortmund on Wednesday night, and although it looked to have been a risky move, their Argentinian striker and fellow summer recruit Jose Callejon clinched all three points to extend their impressive start.
Corriere dello Sport declared that they had “waved goodbye to their rivals” in Sunday’s edition, with Juventus being held by Inter in a fiesty Derby d’Italia at San Siro.
The Bianconeri saw Arturo Vidal immediately cancel out Mauro Icardi’s opener, and they will have been disappointed not to return home with all three points after Mauricio Isla’s miss late on.
Meanwhile, city rivals Torino thought they had done enough to claim a famous win over AC Milan but late controversy resulted in Mario Balotelli scoring a 95th minute penalty to ensure the Rossoneri escaped with a point.
While mayhem ensued with a post-game brawl involving Philippe Mexes and a Torino director, it somewhat overshadowed Massimiliano Allegri’s real problems as Kaka failed to have his desired influence on his return to the club while the injury crisis continues to deepen.
Elsewhere, Fiorentina were held at home by Cagliari after a last-minute equaliser from Mauricio Pinilla, However, news that Mario Gomez will be missing for six weeks due to a knee injury will have further compounded misery on coach Vincenzo Montella, while Juan Cuadrado also dislocated his shoulder.
Sunday’s games were concluded with the Derby della Lanterna, and after a “rambo-like spy” was caught in the act this week, it was Genoa who came away with bragging rights after a 3-0 triumph against Sampdoria.
Serie A Results: Inter 1-1 Juventus; Torino 2-2 AC Milan; Napoli 2-0 Atalanta; Fiorentina 1-1 Cagliari; Livorno 2-0 Catania; Lazio 3-0 Chievo; Verona 2-0 Sassuolo; Udinese 1-1 Bologna; Sampdoria 0-3 Genoa.