Napoli's late push for Serie A's
third Champions League place was aided by a 1-0 home victory
over beleaguered Inter Milan on Sunday but wins for Udinese and
Lazio kept the gap at five points.
Ezequiel Lavezzi, who scored twice in Napoli's 3-1 Champions
League last 16 first-leg win over Chelsea in midweek, was again
on target as Inter suffered a seventh defeat in eight matches.
Inter boss Claudio Ranieri has been given the backing of
president Massimo Moratti after dragging the 2010 European
champions away from the drop zone since his appointment in
September but seventh spot will not placate angry fans.
Fifth-placed Napoli had the better of the first half
although Inter's Wesley Sneijder, whose return from injury has
coincided with a shift in system and a flood of defeats, went
close with a curling free-kick.
Argentine striker Lavezzi netted with a superb one-touch
finish on 59 minutes after good running from Blerim Dzemaili and
Napoli held on despite Salvatore Aronica being harshly dismissed
for a foul and Inter's Giampaolo Pazzini flashing a header wide.
Udinese, in third, took advantage of leaders AC Milan
drawing 1-1 with second-placed Juventus on Saturday by cutting
the gap to the top to six points following a 3-1 win at Bologna.
Lazio, who went out of the Europa League on Thursday and
almost lost coach Edy Reja, are on the same points as Udinese
after ending a difficult week on a high thanks to Miroslav
Klose's 12th league goal in a 1-0 win over Fiorentina.
Napoli's win meant they leap-frogged AS Roma, who had a day
to forget as Atalanta's German Denis bagged a hat-trick in a 4-1
win for the mid-table hosts.
Roma's Francesco Totti was banned while fellow talisman
Daniele De Rossi was left out for arriving late to a tactics
session and watched from the stands as his side crumbled.
"De Rossi was late for a team meeting and we have clear
rules. The coach did not want to pardon this tardiness, the
rules must be respected," Roma sporting director Walter Sabatini
told the club's TV channel.
Guido Marilungo was set up by Denis to grab a 10th-minute
opener for Bergamo-based Atalanta, thriving back in Serie A
despite a six-point deduction for match-fixing.
Another counter-attack led to Denis making it 2-0 and
although new Italy call-up Fabio Borini hit back on 36 minutes,
the second half belonged to Denis with Atalanta also helped by
the dismissals of Roma's Pablo Osvaldo and Marco Cassetti.
Palermo were also reduced to 10 men but after just two
minutes when Federico Balzaretti was sent off for a professional
foul in a 4-1 defeat at Siena, who stay two clear of the drop
zone after Lecce's 2-1 win at Cagliari.
Cesena remain rock bottom following a 1-0 reverse at Chievo
and Novara are just a point better off having lost 3-1 at
Man City set next manager daunting task of winning five trophies in the next five years
Europa League winners in 2015 will qualify for the Champions League the following season
Berlin will stage Champions League final for the first time in 2015
Borussia Dortmund's Mario Gotze ruled out of Champions League final against Bayern Munich
Ten years on, the legends speak to FFT
Your questions answered by an A to Z of legends
75% of all TV is Bale
On the road to ruin
Nike CR7 IX for you
FourFourTwo is brought to you by Haymarket Consumer Media & FourFourTwo is part of Haymarket Sport
| International Licensing | © Haymarket Media Group 2010