ROME, Sept. 28 (Xinhua) -- Goran Pandev scored a brace to award Napoli a 2-0 win at Genoa on Saturday.
Pandev scored the first goal at the 14th minute, and 11 minutes later the second came to wrap up the win which ensured Rafael Benitez's side were immediately on track to bounce back from their shock 1-1 midweek draw with newly-promoted Sassuolo.
Genoa improved after halftime, veteran Alberto Gilardino skimming the post, but Napoli's win moved them a point clear of Roma, who could reclaim top position on Sunday when they travel to Cagliari.
Benitez, who rested players like Gonzalo Higuain and Marek Hamsik, insisted there's nothing "courageous" about rotating the Napoli.
"I am consistent rather than courageous. I have experience and have been in Europe many times, so I know squad rotation is necessary to make everyone in the side stronger. The team won with character," he said.
"It' s no secret that Pandev prefers playing in the center. He was there today and scored, so he has no excuse," he added.
His Genoa counterpart Fabio Liverani admitted his side "gifted" Napoli two goals.
"We gifted them two goals. It becomes tough for anyone if you gift Napoli a two-goal advantage that early," he said.
"However, the responsibility is mine and I take that. In the second half we tried to play in a more attacking way. We signed wingers, so we'll play with wingers," he said.
AC Milan claimed just their second win of the Serie A season with a 1-0 home success over struggling Sampdoria.
Valter Birsa's goal a minute into the second half handed Massimiliano Allegri's side a much-needed three points as winless Sampdoria's woes continued.
For all the home side's dominance in the first half, it was Sampdoria who came closest to opening the scoring in the 26th minute when Andrea Costa met a left-wing corner with a header that shaved the right-hand upright.
Milan made a dream start to the second half with a goal in the first minute, Birsa collecting Robinho's pass on the edge of the box before picking his spot and passing the ball beyond Da Costa from 20 yards.
Milan head coach Massimiliano Allegri was pleased with Milan's victory and clean sheet against Sampdoria.
"We won a difficult and important game, as we needed this win after three matches with just two points," he said.
"We also kept our first clean sheet and ran few risks, aside from a header in the first half and some long-range shots we could' ve avoided," he said.