Reina's heroics keep Napoli in chase
ROME-- Napoli's victory at second-placed Roma on Saturday had kept their hopes of catching Juve alive while damaging those of the Giallorossi, but the champions' first draw will be taken as a sign that Juve are fallible. A game that notable for its intensity and Napoli’s ruthless finishing they will hope that this result will stand them in good stead for Real Madrid’s trip to the Stadio San Paolo on Tuesday. Despite the strikers being in the mood for the game, it was Pepe Reina's heroics that won it. First managing to toe a Mohammad Salah shot onto the post and second when a Perrotti shot deflected awkardly, he somehow managed to push it onto the bar and away from danger, sparking fierce celebrations from the men in white.
The hosts will have to keep this ruthless finishing form if they are to overcome the 3-1 aggregate deficit in Madrid’s favour. However if Reina maintains the form we saw on Saturday at least the Galatico's will not add to their total.
Juventus' Serie A title rivals drew hope of challenging for the Scudetto thanks to Udinese on Sunday afternoon as the leaders were held to a 1-1 draw away from home at the Dacia Arena. Despite this many people’s champions elect are still eight point clear at the top of the table. Despite their next five games including Napoli and Milan the mood in Turin remains hopeful.
Udinese took the lead through Duvan Zapata in the 37th minute, with defender Leonardo Bonucci rescuing a point with a headed goal on the hour mark. The Italy international might have added a match-winning assist but Gonzalo Higuain could not turn home his clever pass in stoppage time.
In the final game on Sunday, Lazio maintained their push for Champions League football as Ciro Immobile scored twice in a 2-0 victory at Bologna. Immobile headed a ninth-minute opener and doubled up with a close-range finish on 74 minutes. Lazio are now four points behind third-place Napoli.
With 11 games of the league campaign remaining, Roma trail Juve by eight points with Napoli two further points shy, but five clear of surprise package Atalanta.
Gian Piero Gasperini's ambitious Atalanta side saw their latest winning run come to an end as Fiorentina ground out a goalless draw in Bergamo in Sunday's lunchtime kick-off.
Inter Milan's recent upturn in fortunes continued with a 5-1 demolition ofCagliari at the Stadio Sant'Elia. Ivan Perisic scored either side of the break in Sardinia, with Ever Banega and Roberto Gagliardini finding rare goals while Mauro Icardi reached 17 for the season with a 67th-minute penalty. Marco Borriello had notched for Cagliari, who are safe from relegation danger in 13th place.
Palermo, however, are not the same. The Sicilians are seven points off 17th-place Empoli and safety and needed a positive result from their trip to Torino. Diego Lopez's men started well as Andrea Rispoli gave them the lead on the half-hour mark. They had not reckoned with Andrea Belotti, though, and a second-half hat-trick recorded inside eight minutes boosted the in-demand striker onto 22 goals for the season while settling a 3-1 home win. His hat-trick is the fastest scored in Seria A in 17 years. In the final minutes of the game, the Rosanero lost Hungarian forward Norbert Balogh to a late red card.
Palermo's future may look bleak but Empoli are still in danger after going down 2-0 at home to fellow strugglersGenoa thanks to last-gasp goals from Olivier Ntcham and Oscar Hiljemark. It was a first victory for new Genoa boss Andrea Mandorlini, who replaced Ivan Juric last month. Empoli’s lead over Palermo stays at seven points.
Elsewhere, drop-zone dwellers Crotone picked up a valuable point from a goalless draw with mid-table Sassuolo at the Stadio Enzo Scida.