Napoli’s Serie A title hopes hit by Fiorentina loss

 

A clinical display of finishing earned Fiorentina a shock 3-2 win at Napoli on Sunday, as Luciano Spalletti’s side suffered a blow to their Serie A title hopes.

With league leaders AC Milan not in action until later on Sunday, victory in Naples would have sent Napoli top, as they go in search of their first Scudetto since 1990.

But they were chasing the game after Nicolas Gonzalez hammered the visitors into a 29th-minute lead.

Dries Mertens dragged the hosts level eight minutes into the second half, but Jonathan Ikone’s fine drilled finish and a superb solo goal from Arthur Cabral stunned the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium into silence.

Napoli’s top goalscorer Victor Osimhen got one back six minutes from time, but it was too little too late, as Spalletti’s side remained in third, one point behind Milan ahead of the leaders’ trip to Torino. Fiorentina climbed to seventh.

Below-par Serie A leaders AC Milan were held to their second successive 0-0 draw and Sunday’s stalemate with Torino cut their advantage over second-placed Inter Milan to two points.

The only notable chance in the first half was a Davide Calabria strike that was well saved, with Milan looking nervous in their pursuit of a first Scudetto since 2011.

Torino improved after the interval, with Mergim Vojvoda denied by an excellent acrobatic stop from Milan keeper Mike Maignan before Italy striker Andrea Belotti fired into the side netting.

Milan never really got going and followed their goalless draw with Bologna on Monday with another tame stalemate in Turin, meaning they sit on 68 points from 32 matches, two clear of Inter, who have a game in hand. Torino stay 11th with 39 points.

The weekend belonged to Inter, who beat Hellas Verona on Saturday and could then watch on as Napoli in third suffered a shock 3-2 defeat at home to Fiorentina before Milan were again disappointing on Sunday.

Serie A leaders AC Milan held to second successive stalemate

Without injured veteran striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic again, Milan lacked potency up front, as their struggles in front of goal continued.

“We didn’t create much but many situations could have become dangerous,” Milan coach Stefano Pioli told DAZN. “I can’t say anything about the spirit and the determination, we are just missing a spark.

“It is a positive result but we are missing the victory. The favourites have had missteps for two or three weeks, it’s a competitive championship and there are difficulties for everyone.

“We know we can do better. I don’t see an anxious or nervous team.”

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Courtesy: Reuters

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