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Football
Napoli stay in title hunt
Cavani hat-trick keeps Scudetto dream alive for Napoli who beat Lazio 4-3 to go second in Italy's Serie A.
Last Modified: 03 Apr 2011 15:02
 Andrea Dossena, right, heads in Napoli's first goal [AFP]

Uruguay striker Edinson Cavani scored a hat-trick as Napoli rallied to beat Lazio 4-3 on Sunday, moving above Inter Milan into second place in Italy's Serie A.

Stefano Mauri and Andre Dias had given Lazio a 2-0 lead before Andrea Dossena and Cavani brought Napoli level.

A Salvatore Aronica own goal put the visitors back in front but Cavani, from the penalty spot, equalised and then hit the winner for Walter Mazzarri's team.

Napoli are now second, three points behind AC Milan, with Inter a further two behind in third.

Harsh dismissal

The game wasn't without controversy, though, as Cristian Brocchi had a goal for Lazio disallowed and the visitors also finished with 10-men as Giuseppe Biava was very harshly dismissed in giving away the penalty.

Despite the three points, title talk was still off the table for Napoli.

"Our behaviour is always the same, we try to win every game and to do our best and the points will be counted up at the end of the season," Cavani said.

"That''s the right way to behave and we're happy because we deserved to win.

"Lazio are a great team, we know what our limits are but we tried to do our best and now we'll celebrate."

The Uruguayan took his Serie A tally to 25 goals, level with Udinese's Antonio de Natale,

Napoli took time to find their rhythm and it wasn't until the 22nd that they had their first chance. Ezequiel Lavezzi played in Marek Hamsik, but Fernando Muslera pushed his low shot away for a corner from a tight angle.

Lazio grabbed the lead in the 29th. Mauri brushed off weak challenges by Michele Pazienza and Paolo Cannavaro and flicked a shot past Morgan De Sanctis.

The Lazio captain nearly doubled his tally minutes later when Brocchi played him through, but he clipped the ball wide of the far post with only De Sanctis to beat.

The Rome side grabbed a second 12 minutes into the second half when Dias volleyed in Javier Garrido's free kick from close range.

Results & fixtures

Saturday April 2

 Brescia 3-1 Bologna
 AC Milan 3-0 Inter Milan

Sunday April 3

 Napoli 4-3 Lazio
 Catania 4-0 Palermo
 Cesena 2-2 Fiorentina
 Chievo 0-0 Sampdoria
 Genoa 0-1 Cagliari
 Lecce 2-0 Udinese
 Parma 1-2 Bari
 Roma 0-2 Juventus

Three minutes later, Napoli were level. Lazio's Giuseppe Sculli inadvertently flicked on Lavezzi's free kick and Dossena headed in at the far post.

By the 61st, Napoli was level as Lazio's failure to defend set pieces continued. This time Dias diverted Lavezzi's kick before Christian Maggio headed back into the box for Cavani to nod in from close range.

Giuseppe Mascara then squandered a chance to give Napoli the lead when he shot straight at Muslera after slipping behind Lazio's defence.

Brocchi then fired a shot against the bar and despite replays showing that the ball had bounced over line, no goal was given.

Lazio continued to press and regained the lead. Mauro Zarate's low shot was saved but Salvatore Aronica turned the ball into his own net as he tried to clear.

Later, Lazio's Giuseppe Biava was sent off when he brought down Cavani in the area and the Uruguayan brought Napoli level from the spot.
 
With two minutes to go he completed Napoli's comeback by coolly lobbing the ball over Muslera after Mascara had headed the ball behind Lazio's defence.

Source:
Agencies
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