|Abel Hernandez, front, steers his Sicilian side up to fifth in Italy’s Serie A [GALLO/GETTY]|
Abel Hernandez scored twice and Igor Budan once to help Palermo to a 3-0 win over Fiorentina that took the Sicilian side up to fifth place in Italy’s Serie A.
Palermo have 34 points, three behind Napoli, who beat Livorno 2-0 in fourth place.
The Sicilians’ victory means Juventus drop to sixth after their miserable run continued with a 2-1 home defeat by third-placed AS Roma on Saturday, leaving coach Ciro Ferrara in danger of losing his job.
In the late game, Inter Milan beat AC Milan 2-0 to establish a nine-point lead at the top of the table, with AC Milan having a game in hand.
Palermo took the lead in the 28th minute. Fabio Miccoli shot from the edge of the area and hit the bar but Hernandez reacted fastest and headed into the open goal.
The Uruguayan doubled his tally in the 37th, running through to steer the ball between goalkeeper Sebastien Frey’s legs after Juan Pastore had slipped a pass through the Fiorentina defence.
Budan added the third in the 57th minute when Fabio Liverani flicked on Miccoli’s free kick and the Croatian spun round and volleyed past Frey.
Napoli went on to win their game after Livorno striker Lucarelli squandered a great chance to open the scoring in the 29th minute, heading over from close range, and then missed a penalty in the second half.
|Serie A results|
Wednesday January 20
Bologna 2-2 Atalanta
Saturday January 23
Catania 3-0 Parma
Sunday January 24
Bologna 2-1 Bari
Shortly before the break, Napoli had a strike by German Denis ruled out as the Argentine was offside, but Maggio made no mistake in first half injury time. Cigarini hit a long pass from the back and Maggio volleyed home his fourth goal of the season.
Nine minutes into the second half, Michele Pazienza fouled Livorno’s Martin Bergvold in the area, but Napoli goalkeeper Morgan De Sanctis saved Lucarelli’s penalty and the striker hit the rebound wide.
In the closing minutes, De Lucia was dismissed for his handball on the edge of the area. Midfielder Davide Marchini went in goal, and could do little to stop Cigarini scoring with a freekick.
Sampdoria boss Luigi Del Neri’s surprise decision to drop off-the-boil forward Antonio Cassano seemed to pay dividends as the early pacesetters’ twice came from behind to beat struggling Udinese 3-2 and halt a slide in form.
Hosts Udinese, who are now one point above the relegation zone, were unlucky not to be awarded a penalty in the closing stages when Alexis Sanchez was taken down in the area.
Lazio are one point higher up in the standings after they were held 1-1 at home by Chievo Verona.