Lazio, Napoli win as Milan, Roma and Inter stung
ROME (AFP) –
Juventus’s Serie A title chances were given an unexpected boost on Sunday when Atalanta stunned Inter Milan 3-1 to dominate the ‘Nerazzurro Derby’ in Bergamo.
Antonio Conte’s champions had brushed off the threat of Pescara on Saturday with a 6-1 away rout which restored the Turin giants’ four-point lead over Inter.
With Atalanta lingering around mid-table, Inter were expected to return from nearby Bergamo with at least a share of the points.
However a week after humbling Juventus 3-1 in Turin to come within a point of the lead, Andrea Stramaccioni’s side saw their gap back at four points as Atalanta turned on the class at the Atleti Azzurri d’Italia stadium to move up to sixth.
Earlier Sunday stuttering Lazio relaunched their campaign by dominating Roma 3-1 in a rain-lashed Rome derby as high-flying Fiorentina piled the pressure on AC Milan and Napoli fought back to beat Genoa 4-2.
Trailing 2-1 after Antonio Candreva and Miroslav Klose struck for Lazio to cancel out Erik Lamela’s opener, Roma were stung minutes into the second half when Daniele De Rossi was given a straight red card for a punch-slap to the face of Stefano Mauri as the pair tussled in the area.
Mauri doubled Roma’s agony when he pounced on a defensive mistake to put Lazio 3-1 up.
Roma fought back and reduced the arrears in spectacular style when Miralem Pjanic hit a long-range free-kick in the 90th minute which beat retreating ‘keeper Marchetti – but it proved too little too late.
Roma coach Zdenek Zeman suggested the rain had helped Lazio’s long-ball game.
“We did well in the first 20 minutes, in fact until the pitch was still good for playing football,” said Zeman.
“Then we were less effective because we can’t play long balls upfield the same way our opponents do.”
Lazio coach Vladimir Petkovic said: “There was no question over our commitment to win this match. It was a job done by the whole team, which was able to play our preferred long ball game.”
Napoli, meanwhile, cemented third spot after a valiant fight back from Ciro Immobile’s 23rd minute opener for Genoa took them to a 4-2 win.
“We have nine more points than at this stage last year,” rejoiced Napoli coach Walter Mazzarri, who revealed his secret for success.
Fiorentina maintained their purple patch with a deserved 3-1 victory over AC Milan at the San Siro.
Former Liverpool midfielder Alberto Aquilani opened the scoring for La Viola, Alexandre Pato missed a penalty for Milan and Fiorentina doubled their lead on 38 minutes thanks to Borja Valero.
Giampaolo Pazzini grabbed a consolation goal on the hour for Milan, who languishing in 13th on 14 points as Fiorentina cemened fourth place.
Under-pressure Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri said: “I’m very disappointed as this was a big chance to climb up the table now we have to use this week to prepare for the game against Napoli and to get some mental strength back.”
Torino grabbed a precious 1-0 win at home to struggling Bologna while Parma and Siena shared a scoreless draw and Udinese grabbed a share of the points in a 2-2 draw away to Chievo.
In Bergamo, German Dennis was Atalanta’s hero with a brace on the way to an impressive 3-1 victory in the ‘Nerazzurro Derby’.
Giacomo Bonaventura gave the hosts a deserved lead when he headed home Federico Peluso’s cross in the ninth minute.
Atalanta dominated the opening half and spurned several goal chances before Freddy Guarin hit a rocket to level on 56 minutes.
Atalanta, however, hit two quick goals in succession to take a 3-1 lead before Rodrigo Palacio reduced arrears for the visitors late on.