MILAN (AFP) –
An Edinson Cavani penalty helped Napoli snatch a 1-0 win away to Sampdoria which allowed them to keep pace with champions Juventus as Italy’s Serie A saw goals galore on Sunday.
Juventus underlined their status as title favourites with a 4-1 hammering of Roma in Turin on Saturday to make it 45 games unbeaten for the Old Lady of Turin.
Napoli, however, maintained their early season title charge by dominating Sampdoria in a thrilling match which was nevertheless decided by a disputed second-half penalty.
As Marek Hamsik dribbled his way into the area the Slovakian midfielder was tripped by defender Daniele Gastaldello on the edge of the area.
The referee pointed to the spot, Gastaldello was sent off and Uruguayan hitman Cavani, who scored a hat-trick in a midweek win over Lazio, stepped up to put Napoli into the lead to take his tally to five goals in six games.
Before then Napoli coach Walter Mazzarri had been banished from the touchline for protesting Pedro Obiang’s two-footed tackle on Paolo Cannavaro on 40 minutes.
But along with Juventus, Napoli are now the only unbeaten side in Serie A with Sampdoria suffering their first defeat of the campaign.
Despite the referee’s close call, Sampdoria coach Ciro Ferrara was philosophical in defeat despite his belief his side had “deserved a share of the points”.
“The referee did well to manage the situation as well as he could. Today it went against us but maybe in the future it will go in our favour,” said Ferrara.
While Sunday’s early fixture between Udinese and Genoa finished in a scoreless draw, no fewer than 22 goals were scored in six afternoon games.
Diminutive striker Fabrizio Miccoli was making his first start since Gian Piero Gasperini took over two weeks ago, and was the star for 10-man Palermo with three goals and an assist in a 4-1 win at home against Chievo giving the Sicilians their first win of the season.
Miccoli scored a superb curling free kick on 13 minutes and gave Palermo the lead after Marco Rigoni had levelled in the 27th minute by muscling past two defenders to beat Stefano Sorrentino in the Chievo goal.
In the 80th minute Luigi Giorgi smashed the ball home after picking up the rebound from Miccoli’s shot after some good work along the goalline.
The little striker then sealed his hat-trick with an audacious volley from 40 metres.
“It’s one of my best days,” said Miccoli, who made a plea to be given a regular starting place.
“I’ve been with Palermo for six years but I still have to prove I’m not old or just worthy of playing the last half-hour.”
Bologna’s second win of the campaign was a 4-0 thrashing of Catania.
Tiberio Guarente opened the scoring on 19 minutes and Alberto Gilardino scored a brace in the 40th and 61st minutes to put the match beyond Catania’s reach.
Panagionis Kone was then on hand to make it 4-0 when he slotted home the rebound from Alessandro Diamanti’s attempted lob of the keeper in the dying minutes.
Torino also got in on the goal-frenzy with Rolando Bianchi levelling German Denis’s opener for Atalanta from the penalty spot following a handball in the area.
Further goals came from Alessandro Gazzi, with a superb glancing header, Alen Stevanovic and Danilo D’Ambrosio before Bianchi grabbed his second in the 75th minute.
Lazio got over their midweek setback against Napoli with a 2-1 home win over struggling Siena while Cagliari suffered a 2-1 home defeat by Pescara to remain the only team without a win in the league.