Joy for Cavani, pressure for Ranieri

Napoli come from behind against Udinese with the help of Edinson Cavani while the pressure mounts on Claudio Ranieri.

    Napoli's Edinson Cavani celebrates scoring the equaliser in dramatic fashion against Udinese [AFP]

    Udinese and Napoli missed the chance to move into the Champions League qualifying positions following a 2-2 draw in Udine on Sunday.

    Udinese will be ruing a missed opportunity having led 2-0 through goals from Giampiero Pinzi and Antonio Di Natale.

    But after Diego Fabbrini was sent off, Edinson Cavani snatched a point with a brace whilst also missing a penalty.

    Diego Milito failed to convert a penalty kick as Inter Milan were held to a 0-0 draw at home by Atalanta, a result that is sure to draw more criticism in the wake of their Champions League elimination by Marseille.

    Atalanta goalkeeper Andrea Consigli blocked Milito's weak spot kick in the 23rd minute. He then also stopped a dangerous header from Walter Samuel on the ensuing corner, and Inter didn't come close again.

    It is the fifth consecutive league match Inter have failed to win at the San Siro, and club president Massimo Moratti walked out at halftime.

    On Tuesday, Inter were eliminated from Europe by Marseille after allowing late goals in both legs, raising questions about whether manager Claudio Ranieri will last until the end of the season.

    Cavani comeback

    Udinese have now won only one of their last seven league games while Napoli's five-match winning run in Serie A came to an end.

    The hosts took the lead on 28 minutes when Pinzi made a clever diagonal run to arrive free in the box to tap home Fabbrini's right wing cross.

    Di Natale then tapped home at the back post on 52 minutes after Pinzi's header had come back off the bar.

    Fabbrini was harshly sent off for a second booking on the hour mark after an innocuous clash with Hugo Campagnaro.

    Maurizio Domizzi gave away a penalty for a handball but Cavani's strike, hit hard and straight, came back off goalkeeper Samir Handanovic's knee.

    The visitors were on a roll, though, and Cavani left Handanovic rooted to the spot with a curling free-kick from 20 yards on 81 minutes.

    And the Uruguay forward bagged a second with a fierce left foot drive that went in off the near post five minutes from time.

    Milan still top

    Third-place Lazio struggled in a 1-0 loss at Catania, who won with a volley from former Juventus defender Nicola Legrottaglie in the 80th.

    AC Milan lead with 60 points, Juventus are next with 56 and Lazio has 48.

    Milan beat Parma 2-0 on Saturday and Juventus routed 10-man Fiorentina 5-0.

    Elsewhere, Lecce and Palermo played to a 1-1 draw in a match that both sides ended with 10 men; Bologna and Chievo Verona drew 2-2; and Novara beat Siena 2-0 for their second consecutive win since rehiring Attilio Tesser as manager.

    Earlier in the lunchtime fixture, Chilean striker Mauricio Pinilla scored a hat trick as Cagliari beat nine-man Cesena 3-0 to end a three-match losing streak in their first match since Massimo Ficcadenti returned as manager.

    Pinilla scored from close range in the 14th minute and then added penalties in the 45th and 56th to give him seven goals since transferring from Palermo in January.

    Cesena midfielder Giuseppe Colucci picked up his second yellow card in the 60th and defender Marco Rossi also got his second yellow, in the 79th.

    Ficcadenti was rehired last weekend to replace Davide Ballardini.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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