Napoli coach Rafael Benitez lamented his team's failure to finish off Genoa after their 1-1 draw on Monday.
Emanuele Calaio haunted his parent club, coming off the bench to score a stunning 84th-minute free-kick to earn Genoa a surprise point at the Stadio San Paolo – a goal he apologised for.
Gonzalo Higuain put Napoli ahead on 18 minutes in front of their home fans with a chipped finish, but the third-placed Serie A side were unable to seal the result.
Benitez said he wanted several more goals during the first half and felt Genoa were always likely to respond after his team failed to score again before the break.
"The first half was the key for me, as we wanted to score two or three goals and then control it after the break," the Spaniard told Sky Sport Italia.
"We didn't achieve that, we knew they were dangerous and that at 1-0 we were always in the balance.
"Clearly if we win our games, then it's easier to think we can finish second. We must understand that this type of match has to be finished off by half-time and that is all."
Higuain's clever finish from a Marek Hamsik pass appeared to have Napoli on track for the first-half target Benitez had set them.
But Calaio, who came on in the 63rd minute, hit back with a delightful, curling left-footed free-kick from 35 yards to earn Genoa a point.
Calaio helped Napoli from Serie C1 to the top flight with several goals during seasons 2005/06 and 2006/07 and the 32-year-old rejoined them in January 2013, only to be loaned out.
He waved apologetically to the crowd as his team-mates celebrated with him after his goal.
"I'm sorry to have scored at Naples," Calaio said.
"Sorry to do this here at the San Paolo but this is my job.
"When the coach gives me the opportunity I always try to give the maximum satisfaction and perform for this shirt. They deserve it, these fans who have come this far."
Genoa coach Gian Piero Gasperini said: "Calaio cared so much about being here in this stadium, so it wasn't easy for him.”
Gasperini praised his younger players, including striker Moussa Konate, with Genoa sitting 11th in the Serie A.
"(Moussa) Konate only just turned 20 and has already made a lot of progress from a few months ago," he said.
"He's growing from game to game and we have an excellent group of young players who are being helped by the experienced figures.
"We don't tend to have great ballistics specialists, so we tend to have to build our moves and get close to the goal in order to score.
"It might seem as if we don't create many chances, but in reality we just take longer to get there."
|9||G. Higuaín||18' 71'|
|Coach: Rafael Benítez|
for M. Hamšík 72'
for Jorginho 80'
for D. Mertens 86'
|Suarez glad to be back despite Clasico defeat|
|Primeira Liga Review: Porto thrash Arouca, Pacos continue unbeaten run|
|Eredivisie Review: Ajax avoid slip-up, Vitesse denied by late equaliser|
|Real heart pleases Ancelotti|
|Ligue 1 Review: Sagnol hurting after PSG loss as Nantes extend unbeaten run|
|Luis Enrique acknowledges Real´s Clasico supremacy|
|Ramos delight as Real romp past Barca|
|Red card motivated PSG - Blanc|
|Leicester below par - Pearson|
|Bundesliga Review: Dortmund woes continue, Stuttgart edge thriller|
|Pique puzzled by penalty call|
|Indian Super League Preview: Lopez ban presents test for Atletico|
|Monk pleased to end winless run|
|Klopp vows to fight through rotten run|
|League Two Review: Murray beaten in Hartlepool bow, Luton go top|
|Swansea City 2 Leicester City 0: Bony brace seals important win|
|Warnock fumes at Dawson ´assault´|
|Hughes unhappy with first-half display|
|League One Review: Garner inspires Preston, Peterborough slip up|
|Real Madrid 3 Barcelona 1: Suarez denied in pulsating Clasico|
|Irvine thrilled with Anichebe impact|
|Bruce happy for Jakupovic|
|Milanic departs Leeds|
|Koeman pleased with ´difficult´ win|
|Rodgers content with Balotelli performance|
|Championship Review: Magic eight for Bournemouth, Wolves on the climb|
|Poyet left to rue more mistakes|
|PSG 3 Bordeaux 0: Lucas double helps champions close on Marseille|
|Wenger salutes ´focused´ Arsenal|
|Scottish Premiership Review: Hamilton beaten at Dundee, Inverness close gap|
|Indian Super League Review: Chennaiyin drubbed by Dynamos|
|Sunderland 0 Arsenal 2: Sanchez double the difference|
|West Brom 2 Crystal Palace 2: Berahino´s last-gasp penalty saves hosts|
|Liverpool 0 Hull City 0: Rodgers´ men frustrated in goalless draw|
|Southampton 1 Stoke City 0: Mane puts Saints second|
|Allardyce hopeful on Sakho injury|
|Borussia Dortmund 0 Hannover 1: Kiyotake increases pressure on Klopp|
|We did not deserve to lose - Pellegrini|
|Bremen dismiss Dutt after poor start|
|West Ham 2 Manchester City 1: Amalfitano and Sakho give hosts deserved win|
|QPR v Aston Villa: Redknapp wants Loftus Road to roar|
|Inzaghi warns against Milan complacency|
|Benitez shrugs off criticism|
|Pires, Lopez punished after spat|
|Mazzarri shrugs off sack rumours|
|Dyche not underestimating Everton|
|Melbourne Victory 5 Melbourne City 2: Berisha treble inspires derby win|
|Allegri hits back at Juve critics|
|Western Sydney Wanderers 1 Al Hilal 0: Juric earns slender lead|
|Redknapp denies Taarabt´s training accusations|
|United are in a fantastic position - Mourinho|
|Allardyce hails ´loyal´ West Ham owners|
|Scrap AFCON to stop Ebola - Song|
|Dutt: Werder deserved to lose|
|Wenger laments lack of confidence|
|Pardew urges Newcastle to ´challenge´ Champions League hopefuls|
|Chicago Fire 2 Houston Dynamo 1: Hosts give Pause fitting farewell|
|Falcao better at United - Filipe Luis|
|Blanc: I told you so|
|Crystal Palace to be sold - reports|
|Van Gaal backs ´unlucky´ Van Persie|
|Vitoria Setubal 0 Vitoria Guimaraes 1: Afonso´s goal enough|
|Delph sidelined for 2014|
|Carrick: I want to give Van Gaal selection headache|
|Aberdeen 1 Motherwell 0: Hayes strike enough to sink lowly visitors|
|Fulham 3 Charlton Athletic 0: Parker and Rodallega move Fulham out of drop zone|
|Celta Vigo 3 Levante 0: Alcaraz defeated in first game in charge|
|Toulouse 0 Lens 2: Visitors escape drop zone|
|Werder Bremen 0 Cologne 1: Ujah adds to bottom club´s woes|
|ADO Den Haag 2 Dordrecht 0: Kramer on target again|
|Possession key for Luis Enrique|
|FA charge Gillingham with ´race victimisation´|
|Poyet issues Sunderland rallying cry|
|Ancelotti ready to spring Clasico surprise|
|Suarez receiving help for biting ´impulse´|
|Tottenham v Newcastle United: Confident visitors look for White Hart Lane repeat|
|Manchester United v Chelsea: Van Gaal expecting Costa to play|
|Guardiola: Upcoming run crucial|
|UEFA investigate Daugavpils over match-fixing after arrests|
|Pires ´hit in face´ by opposition coach - Zico|
|Di Maria declared fit for Chelsea test|
|Burnley v Everton: Dyche relying on mental toughness|
|Milan v Fiorentina: Poli awaits crucial test|
|Serbia to appeal UEFA decision|
|Cesena v Inter: Milan club out to end tumultuous week|
|Bayern mauling changes nothing, says Garcia|
|Getafe v Atletico Madrid: Griezmann hopes to kick on|
|Cisse a doubt for Tottenham clash|
|Ferdinand plans to retire at end of season|
|Martinez pleased with stronger defensive displays|
|League One Preview: Crewe out to exit bottom four|
|Aguero not yet at his best, warns Pellegrini|
|AS Vita v ES Setif: Ibenge´s men seek to end 41-year wait|
|Juventus v Palermo: Buffon expecting response|
|League Two Preview: Life under Murray begins for Hartlepool|
|Villa have Cleverley option - Lambert|
|Costa has a ´little chance´ for United clash, says Mourinho|
|Brisbane Roar 0 Sydney 2: Janko scores wonder goal|
|Borussia Monchengladbach v Bayern Munich: Benatia calls for focus|
|Busquets available for El Clasico|
|Jones calls on United to attack|
|Coutinho vows to improve|
|Suarez not a factor - Ancelotti|
|Bruce wary of Balotelli backlash|
|Pogba extends Juve deal|
|Serbia awarded Albania walkover but deducted three points|
|Walcott to make comeback against Burnley|
|Robben lauds ´perfect´ life at Bayern|
|Vieira: Chelsea can better Arsenal´s ´Invincibles´ mark|
|No fracture for Bender - Klopp|
|Pepe a doubt for El Clasico|
|Allardyce: Carroll two or three weeks from return|
|Defoe unsure of future|
|CONCACAF Champions League Review: Saprissa overhaul Kansas City|
|Liga del Futbol Profesional Boliviano Review: Comeback win sends Oriente Petrolero second|
|Deportivo Capiata 0 Boca Juniors 1 (agg 1-1, 4-3 on penalties): Argentines reach quarters|
|Herediano 5 Perez Zeledon 1: Hosts cruise to victory|
|Liga MX Preview: Queretaro desperate to keep play-off hopes alive|
|First-half profligacy could have cost us - Favre|
|Lille will beat Everton next time - Enyeama|
|Montella pleased with Fiorentina response|
|Benitez blames lack of ´desire´|
|Dunga plays down captaincy controversy|