Napoli, Lazio stunned as La Viola move up to fourth
MILAN (AFP) –
Second half substitute Gianluca Sansone scored a late equaliser in a 1-1 draw Sunday with Napoli which put the brakes on the early season titles hopes of Walter Mazzarri’s side.
Uruguayan international Edinson Cavani made his his return for Napoli following his absence for the shock 1-0 defeat in midweek to Atalanta.
And it took ‘Il Matador’ only six minutes to put Napoli ahead at the San Paolo, slotting home from close range after Torino ‘keeper Jean-Francois Gillet had pushed Marek Hamsik’s cross-goal pass into his path.
Napoli were stunned, however, when Sansone, who replaced Alessandro Sgrigna in the 70th minute, pounced in injury time to secure a share of the points.
Napoli’s second draw of the season still leaves them in third, three points behind Inter Milan and four behind Juventus, who suffered a 3-1 defeat to Inter, their first in 49 games, in Saturday’s ‘Derby d’Italia’.
The real goal action, however, was going on elsewhere as Catania turned on the style to hammer Lazio 4-0 and Fiorentina secured a 4-1 win at home to Cagliari to move up to fourth.
Lazio’s second straight defeat, following their midweek reverse at Fiorentina, means they drop to fifth and are now nine points shy of Juve.
Earlier, Pescara secured a precious 2-0 win at home to Parma, while Atalanta stunned Sampdoria 2-1 away and Genoa succumbed 1-0 at Siena.
Catania made their intentions clear from the start, Alejandro Gomez breaking down the left to smash a left-foot shot under Albano Bizzarri’s crossbar in the eighth minute.
Lazio were struggling to find their rhythm and their task became more difficult when the hosts were awarded a penalty for handball and Francesco Lodi converted to double their lead in the 25th minute.
Three minutes Gomez stunned Lazio again when he arrived late at the back post to send a lob from deep on the left just over the goalline as Lazio’s players protested.
Gomez played a pivotal role in Catania’s fourth, running down the left flank to leave his marker behind before setting up Pablo Barrientos for an easy tap-in past Bizzarri.
At the Artemio Franchi stadium Gonzalo Rodriguez gave Fiorentina a 14th minute lead when he rose to meet a corner from the right to send a bouncing header past Michael Agazzi.
Cagliari equalised three minutes before the interval when Federico Casarini’s first-time volley, following a freekick from the left, took a deflection before beating Emiliano Viviani in the Viola goal.
The goal was initially ruled offside, but after consultation with his linesman the referee pointed to the centre circle.
Any hope of a Cagliari fightback was extinguished early in the second half when Montenegrin international Stevan Jovetic restored Fiorentina’s lead after coolly slotting a left-foot volley into the net from a corner.
Having then survived a potential equaliser, Fiorentina broke on the counter to score their third, Luca Toni turning Jovetic’s cross-goal pass into the corner of the net.
Colombian midfielder Juan Cuadrado made it four for Fiorentina six minutes from time.
In Sunday’s late match Roma have a chance to move up to sixth when they host Palermo at the Olympic Stadium.