Juventus beats Napoli 3-1 to move 3 points clear
MILAN (AP) — Serie A leader Juventus won 3-1 at Napoli to move three points clear of Roma, which fought back from two goals down to draw 2-2 against Lazio in the capital derby earlier on Sunday.
Miguel Britos leveled for Napoli, canceling out a stunning Paul Pogba volley, but Juventus restored its advantage five minutes later through Martin Caceres, who was making his first appearance in more than three months.
There was a suspicion of offside on that goal and Napoli was further infuriated after having a late equalizer ruled out for a foul on Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon before Arturo Vidal sealed the match in stoppage time.
“We are tired of this!” Napoli President Aurelio De Laurentiis wrote on Twitter. “Juve is a strong team, if it is then also helped by referees then it becomes unbeatable.
“It is unacceptable that with six officials they cannot see two players who are offside. Either it’s bad faith or incompetence. These six officials have to be frozen out for a long time.”
Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri shrugged off the comments after steering the Bianconeri to a first win at the San Paolo since 2000.
“It makes me smile, if we start protesting at refereeing decisions then it’ll be chaos,” he said. “Mistakes happen and everyone makes them, from presidents to referees, it’s normal.”
Napoli remained fourth, a point behind Lazio after the latter’s derby disappointment.
Francesco Totti scored both Roma’s goals in the second period. Roma’s talismanic captain celebrated his second in unusual fashion by taking a selfie of himself on the pitch.
Sampdoria moved level on points with Napoli after beating Empoli 1-0. But Genoa slipped up in the race for third as it lost 3-1 at Inter Milan and is level with Fiorentina, which won a thrilling encounter with Palermo 4-3.
Elsewhere, it was: Cagliari 2-1 Cesena; Atalanta 1-1 Chievo Verona 1; and Hellas Verona beat Parma 3-1.
Juventus was hoping to avenge its Super Cup defeat at the hands of Napoli and took the lead just before the half hour mark. The ball come out to Pogba and the youngster fired a spectacular swiveling volley into the far corner.
Napoli leveled in the 64th when Britos escaped the Juventus defense to volley in a corner from close range.
However, Juventus restored its lead almost immediately when Caceres turned in Andrea Pirlo’s free kick on the half volley for his first goal since 2012.
Napoli thought it had leveled again five minutes later when Buffon dropped a cross after colliding with Kalidou Koulibaly and Caceres bundled the ball into his own net but the referee awarded a foul, amid furious protests from the home team.
With Napoli fighting hard for the equalizer, Juventus sealed the match on the counter attack when Alvaro Morata raced from the halfway line before picking out Vidal, who smashed it past the goalkeeper from 25 yards.
Roma was looking to move top — for a few hours at least — after cutting the gap to Juventus to one point last week, but Lazio was also full of confidence after a decent run had seen it climb to third.
However, Felipe Anderson set up Stefano Mauri’s opener before doubling Lazio’s lead before halftime. The young Brazilian has five goals and five assists in as many games.
Rudi Garcia made two changes at halftime, bringing on Kevin Strootman and Adem Ljajic for Nainggolan and Alessandro Florenzi. That had an immediate effect as Totti reduced the deficit three minutes after the restart following a delightful ball from Strootman.
Totti had the Stadio Olimpico on its feet with a magnificent equalizer, flying in at the back post to volley Jose Holebas’ cross into the far corner from the tightest of angles — before an equally memorable celebration.
The race for the final Champions League spot promises to be a riveting battle and just six points separates Lazio in third and Palermo, which slipped to 10th.
Sampdoria moved a point behind Lazio thanks to a magnificent curled goal from Eder shortly after halftime.
Fiorentina was three points further back after a fantastic match which also saw Palermo come back from two goals down with a double from Robin Quaison.
However, Fiorentina which had also hit the woodwork twice recover with goals from Juan Cuadrado and Joaquin.
Earlier, Nemanja Vidic scored his first goal for Inter as Roberto Mancini’s continued its impressive start to the year, following Tuesday’s 1-1 draw against Juventus
Lukas Podolski made his full debut for Inter, while fellow new signing Xherdan Shaqiri was on the bench.