Napoli revive title race

  • Last Updated: March 30 2014, 22:56 BST

A review of the weekend's action in the Italian Serie A.

Celebrations for Napoli
Celebrations for Napoli

Napoli dealt Serie A rivals Juventus their second defeat of the season to help revive a humdrum title race following Roma's victory earlier in the day.

The Bianconeri were unbeaten in 22 league games and cruising heading into Sunday night's game at the Stadio San Paolo but goals from Jose Callejon and Dries Mertens gave third-placed Napoli the 2-0 victory.

Rafael Benitez's men may be a distant 17 points off the championship pace, yet Roma have a game in hand and could cut Juve's lead to only eight points by beating Parma on Wednesday.

Roma trimmed the gap to the defending champions back to 11 points on Sunday afternoon with a 2-0 victory over relegation-threatened Sassuolo.

The Giallorossi took a half-time lead through Mattia Destro before Michel Bastos added a second deep into second-half stoppage time to ensure a fourth straight win for Rudi Garcia's men.

In the race for the Europa League spots, fourth-placed Fiorentina drew 0-0 at Sampdoria while sixth-placed Parma went down to a last-gasp goal at Lazio, who moved to within two points of their opponents with the 3-2 victory.

Italy winger Antonio Candreva decided the outcome with a stoppage-time strike.

Earlier, Parma forward Jonathan Biabiany had cancelled out Senad Lulic's opener before Michael Ciani's own-goal brought the visitors level once again following Miroslav Klose's second-half effort.

Luca Toni scored twice as 10-man Hellas Verona snapped a run of four straight Serie A defeats with a comfortable 3-0 victory over Genoa - despite playing half the match with a man less.

Verona had not won - or scored - since beating Livorno on February 23 to drop down to 10th, but they ended that run thanks to Marco Donadel's first-half goal and Toni's late brace.

Toni's goals came despite the fact Verona had been playing with 10 men since Michaelangelo Albertazzi's dismissal on the stroke of half-time.

Also on Sunday, 10th-placed Torino took full advantage of Cagliari's woeful away record to claim a 2-1 triumph.

Goals in either half from Omar El Kaddouri and Alessio Cerci set up Torino's win, before Nene grabbed a rare away goal for Cagliari.

The Sardinians have not won away in Serie A since February last year - a run of 21 games - and their arrival was welcomed by a Torino side that had seen their European ambitions falter after five defeats in their past six games.

AC Milan picked up up back-to-back wins for only the second time this season on Saturday, with Mario Balotelli and Kaka on target in a comfortable 3-0 win over struggling Chievo.

Balotelli gave Milan a flying start and Kaka, making his 300th appearance for the Rossoneri, doubled their lead before the break. The Brazilian added a stunning third before leaving the field to a standing ovation.

Only Milan's wastefulness prevented them from winning even more convincingly, while Cyril Thereau did the visitors no favours by hitting a late penalty against the bar.

The win lifted Milan to eighth place, six points behind the top five ahead of Sunday's matches.

Earlier on Saturday, Davide Ballardini's position as Bologna coach was left hanging in the balance after a 2-0 defeat at home to Atalanta left them in serious relegation danger.

Two quick-fire first-half goals from Giuseppe De Luca and Marcelo Estigarribia earned Stefano Colantuono's men all three points to take them to within two points of the top five and keep their hopes alive of qualifying for Europe next season.

Bologna, meanwhile, could slip into the bottom three on Sunday with rumours growing that Stefano Pioli will be back on their bench for the trip to Inter Milan next weekend.


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