ROME, Feb. 8 (Xinhua) -- Gonzalo Higuain scored a double to give Napoli a 3-1 victory over AC Milan at home on Saturday.
The Argentine striker headed in a deft pass at the 56th minute to put the hosts 2-1 ahead, then wrapped up the win with a powerful drive at the 82nd minute.
A debut goal from on-loan midfielder Adel Taarabt gave Milan the lead against the run of play after only seven minutes.
Gokhan Inler equalised three minutes later with a left-footed effort that looped over Milan goalkeeper Christian Abbiati, who put on an impressive performance to deny Napoli's numerous chances.
Napoli head coach Rafa Benitez praised Higuain for making the difference in the win.
"Clearly Gonzalo can make the difference, but his teammates helped him a great deal and we created so many chances tonight. We could've scored a lot more," said Benitez.
Higuain was never in doubt about what Napoli could achieve.
"I am convinced we are on the right track. We had some good performances recently and lacked good fortune, but always showed character. I am happy we got the win against a great side," he said.
Defeat for Milan was their first in the league since Clarence Seedorf was appointed and they were fortunate not to have lost by a more emphatic margin.
Clarence Seedorf defended for Mario Balotelli who was seen shedding tears on the bench after coming off in the second half.
"We are players and there are times when we express ourselves that way. I see nothing wrong or abnormal in that. I experienced it at times too," Seedorf said.
"He too needs to grow in general. He played very well against Cagliari, while tonight perhaps didn't make the most of the space. These are things we can all improve on and I'm happy he has so many areas to improve, as I can help him through that education," he said.
Napoli are now three points behind second-placed Roma - who have two games in hand - and three clear of Fiorentina, who beat Atalanta 2-0 earlier in the day.
In the other kick-off of the day, Udinese heaped more misery on struggling Chievo win a 3-0 home victory.
Udinese icon Antonio Di Natale who scored in their win suggested that he could possibly change his mind and put off retirement.
The 36-year-old veteran had announced that he would hang up boots at the end of this season, but now is not so sure about his decision.
"I want to enjoy for another three months and then we'll see," he said.