MILAN - Edinson Cavani scored a hat-trick
in the last half-hour as Napoli came from two goals down to beat
Lazio 4-3 and go second in Serie A on Sunday.
Catania thrashed Palermo 4-0 in the clash of the two
Sicilian teams while Alessandro Matri continued his impressive
form for Juventus, scoring his sixth goal since joining them at
the end of January in the 2-0 win at AS Roma.
Napoli stayed three points behind leaders AC Milan, who have
65 points from 31 games after Saturday's 3-0 win over Inter, and
moved above the defending champions.
Uruguay striker Cavani took his Serie A tally to 25 goals,
level with Udinese's Antonio de Natale, as Napoli kept alive
their scudetto hopes in a fiery match which left the visitors
fuming at three key decisions.
Lazio appeared to have a goal wrongly disallowed with the
score at 2-2 when Cristian Brocchi's long-range effort bounced
down off the crossbar. Replays suggested it had crossed the line
by at least a metre.
"You can see very well, it wasn't a case of five centimetres
over the line, it was very evident that it went in, there's no
way you can consider that it was not a goal," said Lazio
president Claudio Lotito.
The visitors, who stayed fifth in the table two points
behind Udinese in the Champions League qualifying round spot,
were also angry with the Napoli penalty which made it 3-3 and
said Napoli's winner came from an offside position.
Stefano Mauri put Lazio ahead with a delightful individual
goal, weaving his way past several defenders and scoring with
the subtlest of touches as he flicked the ball past the helpless
Fernando Muslera into the far corner in the 29th minute.
Minutes later, he nearly scored again from an identical
position but this time sent his effort past the post.
It did not seem to matter when Brazilian defender Andre Dias
doubled Lazio's lead in the 57th minute, sticking out his foot
to volley in from Javier Garrido's whipped free-kick.
However, Napoli were level within five minutes with goals
from Andrea Dossena and Cavani, both following free-kicks which
Lazio failed to clear.
That was followed by the Brocchi incident, Lazio's protests
barely subsiding before they were gifted the lead when Salvatore
Aronica turned the ball into his own goal from close range.
The hosts levelled again when Giuseppe Biava and Cavani both
fell in the penalty area, the referee awarding a penalty and
sending off the Lazio player before Cavani converted in the 82nd
With two minutes left, Cavani broke clear of the Lazio
defence and cleverly lobbed over his compatriot Muslera who got
a hand to the ball but could not stop it going in.
Cavani and Giuseppe Sculli were booked for an ugly exchange
which led to a mini-brawl in stoppage-time and the Uruguayan was
lucky not to be sent off for diving seconds later.
"We were born to suffer," said Napoli coach Walter Mazzarri.
"At one point it seemed that we were jinxed, but we managed to
turn things around.
"We complicate life and we need to improve from this point
of view but with football, determination and organisation we
turned things around."
In other games, Milos Krasic volleyed Juventus ahead at Roma
on the hour before Mastri, on loan from Cagliari, slipped the
ball through Doni's legs for the second and took his Serie A
tally to 17, including eleven for the Sardinians.
Juventus stayed seventh and Roma sixth.
Catania's goals all came in the second half against Palermo.
Federico Balzaretti scored into his own net three minutes
after the re-start, Argentine pair Gonzalo Bergessio and Pablo
Ledesma scored within six minutes of each other just after the
hour and Simone Pesce netted the fourth.
Lecce climbed out of the relegation zone, moving to 17th,
with a 2-0 win over fourth-placed Udinese thanks two second-half
goals from Andrea Bertolacci.
It was Udinese's first Serie A defeat this year and they are
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