Napoli beat Cagliari 6-3 to go
joint-fourth in Serie A while Inter Milan won for the first time
in 10 games with a late 2-0 success at Chievo on Friday,
prompting tears from coach Claudio Ranieri.
Marek Hamsik gave hosts Napoli an early lead 10 minutes into
the game before Paolo Cannavaro and a Davide Astori own goal
made it 3-0 as they galloped towards a fifth straight league
Cagliari's Joaquin Larrivey pulled one back with the first
goal of an ultimately futile hat-trick as Ezequiel Lavezzi,
Walter Gargano and Christian Maggio netted for Napoli in the
Inter's Walter Samuel and Diego Milito scored in the 87th
and 90th minutes respectively to give Ranieri's beleaguered side
some respite given their last win in all competitions was
against Lazio on January 22.
The victory moved Inter up to sixth with 40 points, two more
than AS Roma, who play at Palermo on Saturday.
Both Napoli and Inter were playing on Friday to give them
extra time to prepare for next week's Champions League last-16
second legs against Chelsea and Olympique Marseille
"Many of us scored tonight, and that is very important,"
Hamsik said. "Resting before the Champions League match against
Chelsea will do us good."
League leaders AC Milan, who top Serie A with 54 points,
host third-bottom Lecce on Sunday while Juventus, who
trail Milan by two points, play at Genoa. Third-placed Lazio
host Bologna and Udinese travels to Novara in late Sunday
Hamsik scored his first goal in two months to start the
Napoli party at the San Paolo and it began to look easy as
defender Paolo Cannavaro headed home nine minutes later.
Ezequiel Lavezzi's shot after 30 minutes was then deflected
in by Cagliari's Astori
The first of Larrivey's goals, a header from Daniele Conti's
cross, reduced the gap to 3-1 38 minutes into the first half but
things looked grim for Cagliari again as soon as the teams were
back for the second half.
Cagliari's Michele Canini fouled Lavezzi near the goal and
the Argentine himself netted the penalty on 56 minutes before
Gargano took his turn to score, curling home a shot.
Larrivey did not give up and scored his second header, only
to see Napoli's Maggio make it 6-2 with a diagonal shot before
the Cagliari man nodded in again on 92 minutes.
"I got quite angry because of the goals we allowed. I wasn't
satisfied at all with the general distraction we displayed in
parts of the game," Napoli coach Walter Mazzarri said.
"Modern football means you're always on your toes, no matter
what stage of the game you're at, and we are not capable of
keeping our attention levels up. That has to change, those goals
we conceded were defensive mistakes."
Inter prevailed in a less than easy match against Chievo
with two late goals after Milito had failed to score a 14-minute
penalty following a handball by Chievo's Francesco Acerbi.
After Wesley Sneijder's shot hit the top of the bar, victory
seemed to be escaping the Nerazzurri once again before Samuel
headed in a corner.
Milito then made up for his missed penalty when he headed in
a cross from the right by Javier Zanetti.
Inter coach Ranieri had tears in his eyes as his team,
playing another new formation, finally managed to win their
first game after five defeats and two draws in Serie A.
"I did have tears, because that's how much I care about my
team," said Ranieri, who took over in September and revitalised
ageing Inter before the sudden slump.
"This result is great for our morale. Now let's hope our
fans at San Siro get behind us and lift us up, in order to help
us qualify to the next round of the Champions League [against
"It won't be easy, but we'll take all of our chances."
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