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Napoli draws 0-0 against Chievo in blow to title hopes

November 25, 2018
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Empoli's Antonino La Gumina, back to the camera celebrates after scoring his side's second goal with his teammates during a Serie A soccer match between Empoli and Atalanta at Carlo Castellani stadium in Empoli, Italy, Sunday, Nov. 25, 2018. (Gianni Nucci/ANSA via AP)

MILAN (AP) — Napoli’s hopes of pushing Juventus all the way in the title race diminished on Sunday and the boos rang out after it was held to a surprise 0-0 draw by bottom-of-the-table Chievo Verona.

Carlo Ancelotti’s side is now already eight points behind Juventus, which beat Spal 2-0 on Saturday and looks to be on an unstoppable march to a record-extending eighth Serie A title.

Napoli is also just a point ahead of third-placed Inter Milan, which also won on Saturday. It would not have been the buildup it wanted ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League match against Red Star Belgrade.

“It’s not a draw that will make me lose sleep,” Ancelotti said. “We’ll wait until the end of the first half of the season to evaluate the standings.”

The result saw Chievo move onto one point. It has managed four draws all season but was deducted three points in September for false accounting.

It was Chievo’s first match under its third coach of the season, Domenico Di Carlo. Lorenzo D’Anna was fired and Giampiero Ventura abruptly resigned after just four games.

Napoli barely tested Chievo goalkeeper Stefano Sorrentino in the first half and it was Chievo that went closest through Joel Obi.

The hosts improved after the break but Lorenzo Insigne could only hold his head in his hands after firing wide from close range.

Inisgne went even closer with Napoli’s best chance of the match but a trademark curling shot from the Italy international came off the far post.

Kalidou Koulibaly almost scored a spectacular late winner for Napoli but his overhead kick flashed narrowly wide.

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE PLACES

Lazio held onto fourth place — which carries the final Champions League berth — with a last-gasp goal to earn a 1-1 draw with visiting AC Milan.

Joaquin Correa used chest control and a low volley to score in the fourth minute of stoppage time.

Franck Kessie had put Milan ahead in the 78th with a shot that was deflected in by Lazio defender Wallace.

Also, Milan midfielder Hakan Calhanoglu hit the post early on and Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma made a spectacular one-handed save to keep out a powerful header from Wallace while Milan was leading.

Lazio remained one point ahead of Milan.

EMOTIONAL DERBY

Genoa and Sampdoria drew 1-1 in an emotional derby, the first since 43 people were killed in the Morandi highway bridge collapse in August.

Krzysztof Piatek’s penalty for Genoa canceled out Fabio Quagliarella’s opener.

Piatek’s 10th goal of the season and first in six weeks put the Poland striker back atop the league scoring chart, breaking a tie with Cristiano Ronaldo.

IMPRESSIVE COMEBACK

Empoli scored in stoppage time to complete an astonishing comeback from two goals down despite Francesco Caputo missing a penalty.

Matias Silvestre headed in a corner in the 92nd minute to secure a 3-2 win over 10-man Atalanta.

Atalanta, which had won its previous five matches, went 2-0 up thanks to goals from Remo Freuler and Hans Hateboer.

Its second goal came seconds after Caputo had fired his spot kick off the crossbar following an Andrea Masiello handball.

Antonino La Gumina got Empoli back into the game shortly before halftime and also had a hand in the equalizer when Masiello deflected his effort into the back of the net.

Atalanta midfielder Josip Ilicic was sent off six minutes from time for dissent after he had a goal ruled out for offside.

Empoli moved a point clear of the relegation zone.

OTHER MATCHES

Parma climbed up to sixth after goals from Gervinho and Bruno Alves earned it a 2-1 win over Sassuolo.

It’s Parma’s first season back in the top flight since going bankrupt in 2015.

Elsewhere, Fiorentina was held to a 0-0 draw at relegation-threatened Bologna.

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AP Sports Writer Andrew Dampf in Rome contributed.

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