Napoli ended a five-game winless
streak with a comfortable 2-0 victory at home to
relegation-threatened Novara on Saturday in a match that was
held up for nearly 20 minutes after the referee injured his
The win meant the Naples club are now a point behind
fourth-placed Udinese, who missed the chance to put pressure on
Lazio in third after a goalless draw with Chievo in Verona left
them two points off the Champions League play-off place.
Napoli easily brushed aside Novara with first-half goals
from Edinson Cavani and Paolo Cannavaro and are now in fifth
place on 51 points with five games left, one ahead of AS Roma.
Europa League football should beckon for Napoli next term
given they face Juve in the Italian Cup final next month and
occupy a berth in Serie A but it will be a far cry from their
Champions League exploits this term.
Second-bottom Novara, 11 points adrift of safety, now look
doomed to relegation after one season in Serie A but the match
was almost overshadowed by the bizarre incident with the
The game was stopped less than a minute in when Daniele
Doveri injured his right shoulder enthusiastically signalling
for a free-kick.
Doveri had to leave the field to be treated but after 18
minutes of confusion in which a reserve official took his time
warming up, he returned to the pitch to take charge again.
Udinese's draw was their first match since former midfielder
Piermario Morosini's death playing for Livorno last weekend.
Despite a moving pre-match tribute, in which the Udinese
players linked arms with their Chievo counterparts and wore
T-shirts bearing his face amid a minute's applause, they could
not honour him with a win.
"At the end of the match I congratulated my players, I
couldn't have asked for more. They gave a lot today and kept
their concentration for the whole game," Udinese manager
Francesco Guidolin told reporters.
"We weren't very incisive, but we'd had a very difficult
week - there's nothing else to say."
Catania won a closely fought contest with Atalanta 2-0
thanks to a dipping 30-metre strike from Argentine midfielder
Alejandro Gomez 30 minutes in and a scrappy 85th-minute finish
from Filipe Seymour.
Parma made light work of Cagliari to win 3-0. The first goal
was a stunning Sebastian Giovinco free-kick on 23 minutes which
was followed up by two second-half penalties from Sergio
Floccari and Stefano Okaka.
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