MILAN - Second-placed Napoli froze in the
Serie A spotlight when they lost 2-0 at mid-table Chievo on
Wednesday and missed the opportunity to move within two points
of leaders AC Milan.
The Naples club, who won their only two Italian titles in
1987 and 1990 thanks to the magic of Diego Maradona, could have
profited from Milan's 0-0 draw with Lazio on Tuesday but were
instead deservedly beaten in Verona.
Davide Moscardelli opened the scoring with a superb turn and
shot in the first half and Gennaro Sardo broke into the box to
make it 2-0 early in the second period.
Serie A's leading scorer Edinson Cavani, who bagged another
hat-trick in Sunday's 4-0 win over Sampdoria, was kept quiet by
Chievo's defence as Napoli showed stage fright yet again when it
mattered to dampen fans' hopes of a shock scudetto.
The once mighty Juventus sank further into the mire and
further away from a Champions League spot following a 2-1 defeat
at Palermo, the fourth time in a row they have failed to win in
Striker Alessandro Matri made his Juve debut having joined
on loan from Cagliari on Monday but the Turin side, seventh last
term, allowed Palermo to leapfrog them and now lie eighth with
just 15 games left this season to spare their immense blushes.
Under pressure Juve coach Luigi Del Neri, who arrived from
Samp at the start of the season, was upset by the referee.
"There were fouls not given and the penalty not awarded was
shocking. They are taking us for a ride," he told Sky
Fourth-placed AS Roma suffered a disappointing 1-1 home draw
with second-bottom Brescia and Udinese's storming run came to an
end with the same scoreline against plucky Bologna.
Fiorentina again left out Adrian Mutu despite his apology
for walking out of training and leapt up the table with a 1-0
victory over Genoa.
Fellow mid-table side Sampdoria, having let main strikers
Antonio Cassano and Giampaolo Pazzini leave in January, again
looked utterly goal-shy in a 1-0 home loss to Cagliari.
At the bottom, Ernesto Chevanton's stoppage-time goal gave
Lecce a 1-0 win at Parma while Cesena and Catania drew 1-1.
Champions Inter Milan, 10 behind Milan in fifth and with
another game in hand, visit basement side Bari on Thursday with Wesley Sneijder back in the squad after injury.
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