Napoli’s title hopes took a further blow on Sunday as Carlo Ancelotti’s side settled for a goalless draw for the third time in four league matches against Torino on Sunday night to trail Serie A leaders Juventus by 13 points. Napoli had drawn at home against AC Milan two weeks ago and at Fiorentina last time out and will face a top-of-the-table clash against Juventus on March 3 with their Serie A bid already all but over.
Champions Juventus are firmly on track for an eighth consecutive title after Cristiano Ronaldo scored in a 3-0 win over lowly Frosinone on Friday.
“We played with focus, motivation, determination, but it’s unacceptable to have 18 scoring opportunities over two games and not score any of them,” Ancelotti said. “We’ve only ourselves to blame. When you deserve a victory you just have to go and do it. The only thing missing was the goal. “But we’re still well positioned in the standings.”
Polish forward Arkadiusz Milik missed a string of chances to break the deadlock at the San Paolo Stadium with Lorenzo Insigne rattling the post in the 74th minute. On-loan Chelsea defender Ola Aina threatened for Torino late on but was chased down by Brazilian Allan as Walter Mazzarri’s side stayed ninth — three points off the Europa League places. “I saw a great Napoli, made up of players of the highest level,” said Mazzarri. “Taking a point against this team means we were good.”
Earlier on Sunday, Radja Nainggolan scored the winner for Inter Milan to consolidate third position with a 2-1 win over Sampdoria at the San Siro, while Lazio’s Champions League hopes took a knock with defeat by Genoa. Nainggolan rifled in low from the edge of the box on 78 minutes after Danilo D’Ambrosio had opened the scoring five minutes earlier, with Manolo Gabbiadini equalising for Sampdoria in between. It was the Belgian’s third goal this season and gave Inter a third straight win after a recent slump as Luciano Spalletti’s side sit seven points adrift of Napoli in third.
Argentine forward Mauro Icardi watched from the stands, along with his wife Wanda Nara, who is also his agent, after being stripped of the captaincy amid protracted contract negotiations. “I very much appreciated that he was in the stadium,” said Spalletti of Icardi who missed the last two games with a reported knee injury. “I would have liked even more if he had come into the dressing room afterwards to celebrate with us, as it was a very important victory.”
Earlier, Genoa captain Domenico Criscito scored deep into injury time to grab a 2-1 win over Lazio which left the capital club in seventh, four points adrift of fourth-placed AC Milan in the race for Champions League qualification. Milan Badelj had given injury-depleted Lazio a lift before the break after their Europa League defeat by Sevilla in midweek. But Genoa punished the Romans late in the second half with Antonio Sanabria scoring on 75 minutes and Criscito sealing victory with a stunning half-volley from distance three minutes into additional time. Europa League hopefuls Fiorentina were saved by VAR amid controversy after the referee disallowed rivals SPAL a goal and instead awarded a penalty which the Tuscans converted before winning 4-1.
Mattia Valoti’s deflected 75th-minute strike had been greeted with delight by the home crowd as it appeared to have given relegation-threatened SPAL a 2-1 advantage.
But the referee immediately ordered a video review which confirmed Felipe had fouled Federico Chiesa in the build-up to the goal which he disallowed and instead awarded Fiorentina a penalty. Jordan Veretout slotted in with the decision proving to be a killer blow for SPAL, who sit just three points above the relegation zone.
Giovanni Simeone added a third goal minutes later, and Brazilian Gerson a fourth as Fiorentina moved up to eighth, three points off the European places. “They robbed us,” complained SPAL president Walter Mattioli. “If you have to cancel a goal for a foul like that, it makes me laugh.”
LEAVE A COMMENT Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*
Derwael makes a winning return to world title venue
Qatar open AFC U23 qualifying campaign with 2-0 win
Finch’s ton helps fire Australia to 8-wicket win over Pakistan
Hazard lifts Belgium as Depay triggers Dutch rout
Falcao penalty for Colombia earns Queiroz debut win over Japan
Blockbuster on cards as RCB play champs CSK in the opener
I fit the role of 4th bowler India wants: Umesh
Unfair to Solskjaer if he does not get United job: Berbatov
No overnight solutions for China’s problems, says new coach Cannavaro