Napoli close on Juve, but Inter stumble
ROME (AFP) –
Napoli climbed to second in Serie A, two points behind Juventus, by defeating Cagliari 1-0 on Monday. The win moved them ahead of Inter Milan who lost 1-0 at Parma in a later game.
As Juventus had lost 1-0 to city rivals AC Milan on Sunday, a win for Inter would have moved them to within one point of the Turin side, but in Parma they were up against a side unbeaten at home in eight months.
Both teams had their chances in a tight first half with Fredy Guarin coming closest for the visitors, while a deflected Marco Marchionni cross was well saved by Samir Handanovic early on.
Inter came closest to taking the lead after 62 minutes when Guarin sent in a tremendous pile-driver of a shot from almost 30 metres out that was parried over the bar by Antonio Miranti.
Japanese winger Yuto Nagatoma was proving a handful for the Parma defence down the right and Argentine striker Diego Milito had an opening after 72 minutes but failed to get any power on his shot and it was easily saved by Handanovic.
Two minutes later the visitors paid the price as Parma opened the scoring.
Nicola Sansone picked up the ball wide left near the halfway line and drove through the Inter defence to fire in a low right-footer that Handanovic got a hand to but could not keep out of his bottom right corner.
Inter powered forward in search of an equaliser, but it was Parma who nearly scored a second with a tremendous header from Yohan Benalouane on a free-kick from Jaime Valdes, but Handanovic reacted quickly to nudge it over the bar.
In the night’s other game, a Marek Hamsik’s strike after 73 minutes was enough to give Napoli a 1-0 win at Cagliari, taking them past Fiorentina and Inter into third place, two points behind Juventus.