Napoli boost European aspirations

Edison Cavani and Marek Hamsik are on the scoresheet as Napoli move ahead of Udinese, Inter and Lazio in Serie A.

     Uruguayan forward Edinson Cavani (L) celebrates Napoli's first goal with coach Walter Mazzarri (C) [AFP]

    Napoli broke a four-way for third place and the final Champions League berth with a 2-0 win over Palermo on Tuesday, stating their intentions of returning to the top European competition they fared so well in this season.

    Edinson Cavani put Napoli ahead with a penalty in the 16th minute at San Paolo stadium for his 23rd goal of the Serie A season, and Marek Hamsik doubled the lead in the 35th with a sublime chest control and shot from the center of the area.

    Also, Napoli midfielder Gokhan Inler hit the crossbar in the fifth.

    With two rounds remaining, Napoli moved three points in front of Udinese, Inter Milan and Lazio, who all play on Wednesday.

    In this season's Champions League, Napoli advanced from a group that featured Bayern Munich, Manchester City and Villarreal, but were eliminated by eventual finalists Chelsea in the second round after squandering a two-goal lead from the first leg.

    Also Wednesday, Juventus can clinch the Serie A title if they beat Lecce and second-placed AC Milan lose to Atalanta at the San Siro.

    Earlier, Roma and Chievo Verona drew 0-0 under heavy rain, hurting Roma's chances of qualifying for the Europa League.

    With the pitch soaked, Chievo produced more chances, while Roma had trouble finding the target at the Bentegodi stadium.

    Roma remained seventh, with only the fourth, fifth and possibly sixth-place clubs qualifying for the Europa League.

    The result will increase pressure on Roma manager Luis Enrique, with the Giallorossi's winless streak now at four matches.

    "It hasn't been an easy year and I don't know what will happen in the future, but a manager has to accept criticism,'' Luis Enrique said.

    "A coach is judged by his results.''

    SOURCE: Agencies


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