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Callejon ends scoring drought as Napoli beats Lazio 2-1

NEWS
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156   //    21 Jan 2019, 04:48 IST
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MILAN (AP) — Jose Callejon ended his scoring drought as Napoli beat 10-man Lazio 2-1 on Sunday to stay in touch with Serie A leader Juventus.

Arkadiusz Milik scored the other goal for Napoli and hit the woodwork twice as Napoli moved to within six points of Juventus, which hosts bottom side Chievo Verona on Monday.

"The new position he's playing in distances him a bit from what he was used to doing in the other system," Napoli coach Carlo Ancelotti, who replaced Maurizio Sarri in the offseason, said about Callejon. "But apart from the goals he is a very useful player."

Napoli was without injured captain Marek Hamsik and Lorenzo Insigne, while Kalidou Koulibaly was suspended.

"We have such a strong squad that we can juggle the players in all the three competitions," Ancelotti said. "Today there were many absences but it seemed as if we weren't missing anyone, we did really well."

Napoli took the lead in the 34th minute. The play was spread from left to right and Dries Mertens picked out Callejon who fired into the bottom right corner for his first goal of the season.

Napoli doubled its lead three minutes later as Milik finally scored by curling a magnificent free kick into the top right corner.

Napoli seemed comfortable and hit the woodwork twice more in the second half — through Fabian Ruiz and Callejon — but Lazio got back into the match in the 65th thanks to a precise shot from Naples-born forward Ciro Immobile.

Lazio's hopes of getting something from the match were diminished five minutes later when defender Francesco Acerbi was sent off following a second yellow card.

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Acerbi had played 148 full competitive matches in a row in Italy but dismissal in his 149th start means Javier Zanetti's record for an Italian team of 162 successive matches won't be threatened.

The Lazio center back, who has fought cancer twice, will be suspended for next week's match against Juventus.

Lazio coach Simone Inzaghi said Acerbi shouldn't have been sent off but admitted "Napoli did better than us and deserved to win."

Lazio remained fifth, a point behind city rival Roma and the final Champions League spot, but both teams could be leapfrogged by AC Milan, which visits Genoa on Monday.

LATE DRAMA

Luis Muriel marked his return to Serie A by scoring two goals against his former club to help 10-man Fiorentina draw 3-3 against Sampdoria after a dramatic finale.

Muriel, who is on loan from Sevilla, didn't celebrate the first but couldn't be faulted for expressing his joy after his spectacular second. Fabio Quagliarella also scored twice as the veteran forward continued his remarkable goalscoring run.

Sampdoria moved a point below the final Europa League qualifying berth, with Fiorentina three points further back.

Muriel, who also played for Udinese and Lecce in Italy, joined Fiorentina at the beginning of the month.

The Colombia international had spent 1 1/2 seasons at Sampdoria before Sevilla broke its club record to sign the forward in 2017.

He scored the opener against his former club in the 34th minute, holding off two defenders before firing across into the bottom right corner.

His second was more spectacular as he turned Joachim Anderson just inside the Fiorentina half and sprinted downfield before dispatching a diagonal shot.

That restored Fiorentina's lead after the home side had Edimilson Fernandes sent off following two yellow cards and seen Gaston Ramirez equalize just before halftime with a stunning free kick.

Quagliarella thought he had won it for Samp with an 81st-minute penalty — after Vitor Hugo's handball — and another goal four minutes later.

It was his 12th goal in his past 10 league matches — impressive for a player who turns 36 on Jan. 31.

However, there was another twist to come as German Pezzella flung himself at Federico Chiesa's deflected cross to equalize with the last action of the game.

ZAPATA SCORES 4

Duvan Zapata became the first Atalanta player to score four goals in a single Serie A match since 1952.

Gianluca Mancini headed in the opener before Zapata ran riot in Atalanta's 5-0 win over relegation-threatened Frosinone.

The Colombia forward has 14 goals in Atalanta's last eight matches in all competitions.

Bologna remained in the relegation zone after it drew 1-1 at Spal, which is four points above the bottom three.

Empoli is three points above the drop after it drew 2-2 at Cagliari, following Diego Farias' stoppage-time equalizer for the home side.

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