Napoli saw their Serie A title hopes take a major blow as they slumped to a 3-1 defeat against relegation-threatened Udinese in a fiery encounter at Stadio Friuli on Sunday afternoon.
Bruno Fernandes got the hosts up and running on 14 minutes after firing home from the penalty spot, although Gonzalo Higuain had Napoli back on level terms 10 minutes later.
Fernandes then wasted a great chance to put his side back in front with 26 minutes gone after Udinese were awarded another penalty, but this time, the forward was unable to convert from 12 yards.
However, the Portuguese international would make amends right on the stroke of half-time after grabbing his brace as the hosts took a 2-1 lead into the break.
It wasn’t long after the restart before Udinese had their third goal of the day, Cyril Thereau getting his name on the scoresheet after 57 minutes, with Silvan Widmer providing the assist for his team-mate.
Napoli’s day then went from bad to worse as Higuain picked up two bookings in the space of 14 minutes to earn a subsequent red card and an early shower.
Tempers threatened to boil over in the closing stages, with the referee issuing no fewer than 10 yellow cards throughout the encounter, with six of those coming in the final 30 minutes, but the match official eventually blew for full-time before brandishing any more red cards.
The result left Napoli six points behind leaders Juventus with seven league matches remaining this season, while Udinese could finish the weekend as high as 13th.