Agencies Rome, Italy
Two goals from Arkadiusz Milik helped Napoli return to winning ways in Serie A with a 2-0 home victory over Hellas Verona yesterday.
The Poland international had not scored this season going into the game, but struck in either half to end his drought.
Napoli’s form stuttered before the international break as they were held to two consecutive goalless draws, against Torino in Serie A and Genk in the Champions League.
But a comfortable victory at the Stadio San Paolo helped Carlo Ancelotti’s side close the gap on third-placed Atalanta to just one point after they were held to a draw by Lazio.
Napoli are fourth on 16 points, one behind Atalanta and four ahead of fifth-placed Roma, who face Sampdoria today.
Earlier yesterday, Atalanta’s Luis Muriel and Lazio captain Ciro Immobile struck twice in a thrilling 3-3 Serie A draw that saw the Rome hosts bounce back from three down with a stoppage-time penalty.
Immobile tops the scorers table on nine goals while third-place Atalanta, now on 17 points, failed to draw level with leaders Juventus on 19, who host Bologna in a late game. Lazio have 12 points from eight games.
Colombia striker Muriel proved a valid replacement for his injured compatriot Duvan Zapata, striking on 23 minutes from inside the box.
He then watched his seemingly harmless free-kick find the far post to stun keeper Thomas Strakosha five minutes later.
Captain Alejandro Gomez was ruthless when he stormed in the box to make it 3-0 on 37 minutes. But the Rome hosts were back into the game after the hour, with Immobile rising after being floored to convert a 69th-minute penalty and Joaquin Correa slamming home an angled drive.
Immobile was again floored and converted three minutes into stoppage time.
“We had a wrong approach to the first half,” Immobile said. “We should always play as we did in the second. I don’t know how we can do it, but we have to.
“We were silent at the break. We looked into each other’s eyes, we knew we had to lift our heads and were aware that we had been lousy. The late penalty was very difficult to take but I knew that we deserved the draw after our great second half.”
n Lazio 3 (Immobile 69-pen, 90+2-pen, Correa 70) Atalanta 3 (Muriel 23, 28, Gomez 37)
n Napoli 2 (Milik 37, 67) Hellas Verona 0
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