Higuain's double powers Napoli past Genoa

Naples, Italy (SportsNetwork.com) - Gonzalo Higuain scored on either side of the intermission on Monday as Napoli claimed a nervy 2-1 win over Genoa at the Stadio San Paolo.

Napoli entered the matching hoping for a third consecutive victory across all competitions following a 1-0 win over Lazio in league play and a win over Udinese in penalty kicks in the Coppa Italia, and the home side wasted little time getting off to a quick start as Higuain opened the scoring after seven minutes.

But Genoa grabbed the equalizer in the 56th minute through Iago Falque, who did well to turn his defender before firing into the bottom right corner, leaving Napoli goalkeeper Rafael with little chance for a save.

Them deciding moment came in the 75th minute as Higuain was clattered to the ground while trying to get his head on a free kick, resulting in referee Gianpaolo Calvarese pointing to the spot.

Higuain stepped up and calmly powered it into the right side netting, leaving Genoa goalkeeper Matia Perin with little chance to make the stop.

Genoa sent numbers forward in the final minutes, but was unable to come up with another tying goal and suffered its sixth defeat of the season.

The victory takes Napoli into third place in Serie A with 36 points.

In Monday's other Serie A fixture, Udinese claimed a 2-1 win over Empoli at the Stadio Carlo Castellani despite going down to 10 men late in the match.

Antonio Di Natale fired home his ninth goal of the campaign after 19 minutes to give the visitors the lead, but Riccardo Saponara equalized for the home side with a penalty kick in the 37th minute to send the sides into the break on level terms.

Silvan Widmer scored on the hour mark to hand Udinese the 2-1 lead, but Panagiotis Kone was shown a second yellow card in the 74th minute to reduce the visitors to 10 men.

Despite playing down a man, Udinese's defense held out to claim an important three points. The result moves the club into ninth place in the table on 27 points from 20 matches played.