MILAN - Lazio and Napoli surged three
points behind leaders AC Milan after both sides triumphed in a
day of high late drama in Serie A's last Sunday of action before
the mid-season break.
Milan lost 1-0 at home to fifth-placed AS Roma on Saturday
and their lead has been slashed in half ahead of the league
resuming on January 6.
Juventus, in fourth, could even have joined Lazio and Napoli
on 33 points had they not been pegged back late on in a 1-1 draw
at Chievo on Sunday.
Serie A top scorer Edinson Cavani blasted in from 25 metres
in injury-time to give Napoli a 1-0 home win over Lecce and
spark wild scenes of celebration at the San Paolo where their
fourth one-goal victory in a row had begun to look unlikely.
Last term's relegation candidates Lazio overcame Udinese 3-2
at home to continue their fairytale season thanks to Cristian
Zapata's own goal two minutes from time.
The hosts had taken an early lead through the excellent
Hernanes before Udinese equalised just after the break thanks to
Alexis Sanchez's header.
Defender Giuseppe Biava hooked in following a corner soon
afterwards for Lazio but German Denis levelled again with a
stunning header from the edge of the area which wrong-footed
goalkeeper Fernando Muslera.
Despite the win, Lazio coach Edy Reja was unhappy with the
attitude of some of his players.
"I am the coach, I make the decisions. There are no
phenomenons here," former Napoli boss Reja told Sky.
"Either you understand that the decisions must be accepted
for the good of everyone or... you risk everything collapsing."
In another wide open game full of chances, Chievo striker
Sergio Pellissier scored in stoppage-time to deny 10-man
Juventus all three points.
Juve, who beat Lazio last weekend but now lie five behind
Milan, went ahead thanks to the in-form Fabio Quagliarella
netting an overhead-kick on the half hour after Marco Storari
had saved home midfielder Michele Marcolini's penalty.
The visitors could have extended their lead despite young
midfielder Manuel Giandonato, preferred to the out-of favour
Mohamed Sissoko, being sent off early in the second half but the
Juve defence was eventually breached after sustained pressure.
In other games, sixth-placed Palermo were held to a 1-1 draw
at bottom side Bari, Catania beat Brescia 1-0 and Parma drew 0-0
with Bologna, whose players are now set to get their first wages
for two months after the owner of a coffee firm bought the club.
Sampdoria's city derby with Genoa was postponed because of
snow meaning the sides stayed below seventh-placed champions
Inter Milan, who were not in league action this weekend because
of their victory in Saturday's Club World Cup final.
Inter coach Rafa Benitez's outburst after the final about
the club's lack of signings has sparked media speculation he
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