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Napoli win to close in on Juventus

Posted on Jan 28, 02:07PM | IANS

Napoli beat Parma 2-1 to move to within three points of Italian football league, Serie A, leaders Juventus.

Napoli went ahead in the 20th minute Sunday thanks to Marek Hamsik's eighth goal of the season but shot themselves in the foot when Paolo Cannavaro put the ball in his own net in the 74th minute, reports Xinhua.

Napoli then pressed for the winner and were rewarded when star striker Edinson Cavani rounded Parma keeper Antonio Mirante to tuck home the goal with just five minutes left on the clock. The result ensures Napoli capitalise on Juventus' shock draw to Genoa Saturday and keep their Scudetto aspirations well and truly alive.

Napoli head coach Walter Mazzarri was full of praise for his side after they became the first side to conquer Parma and closed the gap to three points to Juventus.

"Today we understood why nobody had won at the Tardini. I must compliment Roberto Donadoni because Parma are a great side who work hard and never give up. We are extremely satisfied with this fundamental victory," he said.

"The statistics say we have an extra 15 points compared to this time last year, when it was still a great season. This term we are going above and beyond expectations but must also remember that every game is truly complicated in Italy. It is true that the team has improved in terms of strength in depth," he said.

Elsewhere, AC Milan continued their hunt for a European berth next season with a 1-0 away win over Atalanta thanks to a goal from star Stephan El Shaarawy. The 20-year-old tucked home a pinpoint through-ball from M'Baye Niang after 30 minutes to score his 15th goal of the season and hand his side much-needed three points.

The Rossoneri have now won six of their past eight Serie A outings and are fifth on the table, six points behind Lazio who occupy the final Champions League place.

Roma lived up to their reputation as Serie A's most entertaining side after they played out a remarkable 3-3 draw against Bologna. The league's most prolific side went ahead after just nine minutes thanks to a Alessandro Florenzi finish only for veteran striker Alberto Gilardino to level the scores eight minutes later.

The capital side immediately regained the lead when Pablo Osvaldo headed in a Miralem Pjanic cross but they were once again pegged back thanks to a Manolo Gabbiadini strike after 26 minutes. Atalanta went ahead for the first time just after half-time when Cristian Pasquato took full advantage of some calamitous Roma defending.

However, Roma managed to salvage a point when Panagiotis Tachtsidis headed home a Francesco Totti free-kick in the 74th minute to round out the scoring in what was a thrilling encounter at the Stadio Renato Dall'Ara.

In the day's other games, Sampdoria eased relegation concerns by smashing fellow strugglers Pescara 6-0, Catania recorded an important 2-1 win over fellow European hopefuls Fiorentina, Udinese overcame bottom side Siena 1-0 and Cagliari struck in the final minute to snatch a point in their 1-1 draw with Palermo.