Napoli close the gap on Juventus

Edinson Cavani extends superb form as Napoli defeat Parma in Serie A and put the pressure on leaders Juventus.

    Napoli close the gap on Juventus
    So often the man of the moment: Cavani (C) celebrates with teammates after scoring winner [GETTY]

    Edinson Cavani scored his 18th league goal of the season to take Napoli to within three points of Serie A leaders Juventus as Parma lost their unbeaten home record on Sunday.

    Juventus had spurned the chance to secure an eight-point lead on Saturday when they were denied a last-gasp penalty in a 1-1 draw at home to Genoa.

    Despite being kept on a tight rein by Parma, Cavani produced a classy solo finish in the 85th minute to give the visitors a 2-1 win after Napoli defender Paolo Cannavaro's had put through his own goal to cancel out Marek Hamsik's opener.

    Napoli remain second on 46 points but are now just three behind champions Juve and three clear of Lazio, who were stunned 1-0 by Chievo at the Olympic Stadium on Saturday.

    Serie A Results

    Sunday January 27

     Atalanta 0-1 AC Milan 
     Cagliari 1-1 Palermo 
     Catania 2-1 Fiorentina 
     Parma 1-2 Napoli 
     Sampdoria 6-0 Pescara 
     Udinese 1-0 Siena 
     Bologna 3-3 Roma 

    AC Milan, meanwhile, survived some tense moments away to Atalanta but emerged with a precious 1-0 win thanks to Stephan El Shaarawy's first-half strike following M'Baye Niang's through ball.

    Milan's 11th win of the campaign, following their dismal start to the season, means they move up to fifth, 12 points behind Juve with Fiorentina going the other way after a 2-1 defeat at Catania.

    Elsewhere, Argentinian teenager Mauro Icardi, whose performances have already drawn admirers, scored four times as Sampdoria thrashed Pescara 6-0 in Genoa.

    A late Thiago Ribeiro goal allowed Cagliari to secure a 1-1 draw at home to Palermo, who had taken a first-half lead through Josip Ilicic.

    Udinese added to the woes of basement side Siena, who had no reply to a 36th minute strike by Colombian Luis Muriel.

    Napoli's credentials as bona fide title challengers have been put to the test on more than one occasion away from home this season.

    However Hamsik calmed Walter Mazzarri's nerves with a 20th minute opener after stretching his foot out to send Blerim Dzemaili's delightful through ball past Antonio Mirante at the far post.

    Minutes later Napoli 'keeper Morgan De Sanctis palmed out Nicola Sansone's angled shot from close range as Parma's claims that the ball had crossed the line fell on deaf ears.

    Leaving it late

    Parma were piling on the pressure and Napoli somehow survived conceding an equaliser when Cannavaro headed Jaime Valdes' angled shot off the line.

    Just before half-time Cavani saw a free-kick from outside the area punched off the line by Mirante.

    The Uruguayan then turned provider, clearing on the line to launch Goran Pandev, who ran down field only to see his shot blocked by the onrushing Mirante.

    Parma turned the screw early in the second half and their efforts paid off when Stefano Amauri got the ball to the byline for Sansone, who saw his shot across goal turned into the net by Cannavaro.

    Cavani looked to be suffering from fatigue when he only got a weak shot away as he found time and space on the left flank.

    But in the 85th minute the Uruguayan left the Parma defence trailing on his way to collecting a through ball and rounding Mirante to put the visitors into the lead.

    Bologna and Roma shared the spoils after a six-goal thriller which saw four goals scored inside the first 26 minutes.

    Roma snatched a ninth-minute lead through Alessandro Florenzi, only for Alberto Gilardino to level minutes later.

    Pablo Osvaldo restored Roma's lead on 17 minutes with a free header but Bologna fought back and levelled through Manolo Gabbiadini.

    The hosts took the lead for the first time through Cristian Pasquato on 54 minutes, but Roma levelled when Greek midfielder Panagiotis Tachtsidis headed home a free kick on 74 minutes.

    In Sunday's late match Inter Milan, in fourth at 10 points off the lead, host Torino.

    SOURCE: AFP


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