Juve leave it late to beat Napoli


Simone Zaza’s last-gasp goal fired Juventus to the top of the Serie A table at Napoli’s expense.

The Azzurri arrived in Turin hoping to extend their two-point lead in the Scudetto race but the league’s top scorer Gonzalo Higuain and his team-mates failed to breach the reigning champions’ defence.

Massimiliano Allegri’s men toiled in their own pursuit of a goal until the 88th minute, when substitute Zaza earned a 15th straight win – 1-0 on the night – while ending Napoli’s long run as leaders.

The southerners, who had won eight consecutive games before Saturday’s encounter, must now hope Juve slip up at some point across the last 13 matches of the season.

At the other end of the division, Frosinone took an important step towards attaining survival as a brace from Daniel Ciofani downed Empoli 2-1 at the Stadio Carlo Castellani.

Ciofani opened the scoring after 18 minutes in Empoli by heading Daniel Pavlovic’s cross home.

Massimo Maccarone equalised for the hosts on the hour mark, the former Middlesbrough man converting an assist from Riccardo Saponara.

But in the 74th minute Ciofani notched from the penalty spot following Mario Rui’s foul on Federico Dionisi.

Promoted Frosinone are now just four points behind Sampdoria and the last position of safety, while out-of-form Empoli remain in ninth place.

Sampdoria’s winless run stretched to seven matches after a goalless draw at home to Atalanta on Sunday.

The visitors made the brighter start and former Italy forward Alessandro Diamanti fired an early effort over the crossbar, before Mauricio Pinilla headed narrowly wide.

The hosts almost took the lead shortly after the break but Dodo’s header from Mattia Cassani’s cross was well saved by Marco Sportiello.

Andrea Ranocchia had a late chance to win it for Samp but skewed his shot high and wide as they remain 16th while Edy Reja’s side stay in 13th.

Also on Sunday, Khouma Babacar’s injury-time strike saw 10-man Fiorentina climb into third place as they claimed a 2-1 victory over nine-man Inter Milan in an ill-tempered contest at the Stadio Artemio Franchi.

Marcelo Brozovic finished off a sweet passing move to give Roberto Mancini’s side a first-half lead before Borja Valero headed in Josip Ilicic’s cross to equalise for the hosts.

In an eventful end to the game, Galatasaray loanee Alex Telles was shown a second yellow card for Inter before Babacar came off the bench to pounce on fellow substitute Mauro Zarate’s saved effort to score the winner.

Zarate was given a straight red moments later after an altercation with Jeison Murillo and referee Paolo Silvio Mazzoleni then gave Inter Milan midfielder Geoffrey Kondogbia his marching orders in the closing stages for dissent.

Goals from Carlos Bacca and Keisuke Honda fired AC Milan to a 2-1 win over Genoa. Strikes in each half ensured the hosts kept the pressure on Serie A’s top five and left Genoa looking over their shoulders at the relegation zone.

Alessio Cerci hit a consolation for Genoa but it was too late to deny Milan the victory.

Ciro Immobile scored his first brace for Torino as they beat Palermo 3-1 to move away from the Serie A relegation zone.

Alberto Gilardino took just two minutes to put Palermo ahead but Torino took over from then on. Immobile calmly slotted home from the spot after Michel Morganella fouled the forward.

Giancarlo Gonzalez then scored an own goal to put Torino 2-1 up on the half hour and Immobile secured the win with a rising left-footed shot after the break.

The win moved Torino nine points above the drop zone while Palermo are now just four points above the bottom three.

Mattia Destro’s late winner helped Bologna to a 1-0 victory over hapless Udinese at the Stadio Friuli.

The Rossoblu had not won at Udinese since 2005 and had lost the reverse fixture on match day six but the former Roma striker settled the score with a beautiful effort.

Stefano Colantuono’s side are now winless in their last seven Serie A games.

Elsewhere Nicola Sansone’s rapid equaliser earned Sassuolo their share of the points from a 1-1 draw at Chievo.

Valter Birsa got the Flying Donkeys off the mark with a 29th-minute penalty but Sansone had the ball in the net for Sassuolo only one minute and 20 seconds after the restart.

Roma climbed to third place in Serie A with a convincing 3-1 victory at relegation-threatened Carpi.

The win, their fourth in succession, takes them to 47 points above Fiorentina and Inter Milan, and continues their revival since the sacking of Rudi Garcia and re-appointment of Luciano Spalletti.

It came via second-half goals from Lucas Digne, Edin Dzeko and Mohamed Salah, Dzeko’s effort restoring Roma’s lead after Kevin Lasagna had equalised for Carpi.


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