Two late goals saw Napoli end a chastening week with a flourish following a 2-0 triumph at 10-man Siena.
The Azzurri's pursuit of Serie A leaders Juventus was derailed this week as the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) deducted two points from the club for a former player's involvement in match-fixing, while they then exited the Coppa Italia courtesy of a second home loss to Bologna in three days.
And it seemed like there would be more frustration in store as they failed to capitalise on their dominance until Christian Maggio broke the deadlock in the 86th minute, while Edison Cavani netted immediately after from the spot after Goran Pandev had been upended in the area by Felipe dal Belo.
It was just reward for the visitors, who end the year in fifth and 10 points behind Juventus, but Siena's afternoon was compounded in added time when Emanuele Calaio was sent off after needlessly elbowing Valeron Behrani.
Walter Mazzarri's side expressed their dismay at the FIGC's decision and clearly had a point to prove after four consecutive defeats in all competitions.
They started well, with Marek Hamsik only just failing to get a touch on Lorenzo Insigne's cross, while both players then narrowly missed the target from the edge of the area.
Napoli kept pushing forward but their first effort on target came just before the break when defender Alessandro Gamberini's strike from distance was saved well by Siena goalkeeper Gianluca Pegolo.
The one-way traffic continued after the interval and Hamsik, from a narrow angle, was denied by Pegolo, who then did excellently to keep out Cavani's point-blank header.
It looked like Siena would hold on in the closing stages until Maggio tapped in from close range following good work from Hamsik four minutes from time.
The visitors doubled their lead a minute later when Cavani slotted home from the spot after Pandev had been brought down in the box by Dal Belo.
Siena's miserable afternoon got worse when they went down to 10 men in the final minute when Calaio elbowed Behrani.