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Napoli cut gap to Juventus, Icardi fires Inter into third

PTI
NEWS
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125   //    08 Oct 2018, 09:46 IST

Milan, Oct 8 (AFP) Napoli moved back to within six points of Serie A leaders Juventus on Sunday as goals from Adam Ounas and Lorenzo Insigne clinched a 2-0 win over Sassuolo, while Inter Milan took third by beating SPAL.

Carlo Ancelotti's hosts slipped off the pace last weekend with a loss to Juve in Turin, but managed to avoid dropping further adrift, after the embattled Cristiano Ronaldo scored in the reigning champions' victory at Udinese on Saturday.

"We played some really good football today, even if Sassuolo were not an easy opponent to deal with," said Ancelotti.

Algerian youngster Ounas, making his full debut in Serie A, gave Napoli the perfect start with a magnificent goal in only the third minute.

The 21-year-old latched onto a poor back-pass from Manuel Locatelli, flicked the ball over the head of visiting centre-back Giangiacomo Magnani, and hammered home a stunning left-footed volley to score his first goal in Italian football.

The home team dominated throughout, with Dries Mertens drilling an effort wide before sending an attempted lob from the halfway line floating over.

But Insigne came off the bench early in the second half and secured the win in trademark style with 18 minutes remaining, cutting inside off the left wing and curling a ferocious shot into the far top corner.

"I am going through a good period of form, I hope to continue like this and to keep scoring regularly, but aside from all that, I really hope Napoli can go all the way in every competition," said Insigne, who also scored the winner against Liverpool in the Champions League on Wednesday.

Napoli finished the game playing against 10 men, after Sassuolo wing-back Rogerio's late red card.

- Icardi double for Inter -

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Inter Milan moved into third place, eight points off the lead, after a 2-1 win at SPAL, their fourth in a row.

Captain Mauro Icardi scored both Inter's goals.

The Argentine opened the scoring in the 14th minute with a header which glanced off SPAL's Johan Djourou before adding a second off an incisive pass from Ivan Perisic 12 minutes from time.

In between, however, Mirco Antenucci missed a penalty for SPAL before Alberto Paloschi temporarily pulled his side level in the 72nd minute.

Ciro Immobile scored his first-ever goal against Fiorentina as Lazio claimed a 1-0 win at the Stadio Olimpico earlier on Sunday and now stand fourth in the table.

Simone Inzaghi's Lazio went into the match looking to bounce back from their 3-1 derby defeat by Roma last weekend, and did just that to leapfrog their beaten opponents in the table.

"Today we saw the real Lazio, the team with heart that battles hard, that wins duels and games," midfielder Senad Lulic told DAZN.

"If we play like this, then we can beat anyone. You could see today how hungry we were for the three points."

Marco Parolo flashed a shot narrowly wide early on, before Lazio defender Wallace got away with a slack pass as Marco Benassi's effort was kept out by Thomas Strakosha. Immobile made the breakthrough in the 38th minute, as Stefan Radu nodded on a corner and the Italy striker stretched to volley in at the back post for his fifth league goal of the season.

The 28-year-old, who signed a contract extension which will keep him at the club until 2023 earlier this week, has now scored 57 Serie A goals since the start of the 2016-17 campaign.

Giovanni Simeone had a penalty appeal waved away for the visitors, while Marko Pjaca also went close to an equaliser, but the home side held on for their fourth win in five league games.

- Higuain stars for Milan -

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AC Milan extended their unbeaten run to eight matches in all competitions as Gonzalo Higuain scored twice in a 3-1 victory over lowly Chievo at the San Siro.

Higuain has now scored six goals in just seven appearances for Gennaro Gattuso's men since joining from Juventus in the close-season.

"Higuain is a champion, a great finisher, a lad who at this moment is working really hard for the group, is demanding and also well-loved," Gattuso told Sky Sport Italia.

Milan sit 10th, but only four points off the top three with a game in hand

PTI
NEWS
Press Trust of India (PTI) is a news agency in India
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