Napoli coach Carlo Ancelotti left the stadium without speaking to any media and did not attend the obligatory press conference after the team's fourth successive match without a win in all competitions.
Teenager Erling Haaland put Salzburg ahead from the penalty spot in the 11th minute after Kalidou Koulibaly had tripped Hee-Chang Hwang. It was the 19-year-old Norwegian's 23rd goal in 17 competitive matches this season, including seven in four Champions League matches.
Hirving Lozano scored his first home goal for Napoli to level the game shortly before halftime, while the Italian side also hit the woodwork twice. Napoli had 30 attempts on goal but only three on target.
Club President Aurelio De Laurentiis had ordered the squad into a training retreat in the buildup to the match — much to the displeasure of Ancelotti and the players. "It's a bit of a tough period, but we've got to lift up our heads and continue to work," Napoli captain Lorenzo Inisgne said. "We know that we have to have consistency ... we have to play like tonight and sooner or later luck will turn our way.
"We tried in every way possible, we're a bit disappointed because we manage to have good performances, without managing to score. But apart from bad luck we need to be more clinical in front of goal."
Napoli slipped to second in Group E, a point behind Liverpool which beat Genk 2-1. Salzburg remained four points behind Napoli, with two matches remaining. "We came here to win but at the end we're still in with a chance of progressing," Salzburg coach Jesse Marsch said. "We've come away with a very important point, against a super Napoli side and we know we can still qualify for the next stage."
Napoli could have become the first side to qualify for the knockout stages if it beat Salzburg and Genk failed to win at defending champion Liverpool. However, it got off to a poor start as Koulibaly mistimed his tackle to give away the penalty, which Haaland struck into the bottom right corner.
Napoli almost leveled immediately when Jose Callejon headed across the face of goal but it came off the base of the left post. But Lozano leveled in the 44th after the Mexico forward was picked out by Insigne and cut inside to drill the ball into the bottom left corner.
It was also Lozano's first goal in the competition for Napoli. Both sides had a number of chances in the second half, with Napoli going closest when Insigne's in-swinger hit the angle of the bar and post and went out off the back of the head of Salzburg goalkeeper Carlos Miguel Coronel.
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