Napoli beat Ju­ven­tus to throw ti­tle race wide open

The Irish Times - Monday - Sport - - Soccer -

Sec­ond-placed Napoli threw the Serie A ti­tle race open in dra­matic style when Kali­dou Koulibaly scored with a tow­er­ing header in the last minute to give them a 1-0 win at lead­ers Ju­ven­tus. Napoli cut the gap be­tween them­selves and the Turin side to one point with four matches to play, set­ting up a dra­matic fi­nale to the Serie A sea­son.

Ju­ven­tus, chas­ing a sev­enth suc­ces­sive ti­tle, still face dif­fi­cult matches away to In­ter Mi­lan and AS Roma.

Napoli dom­i­nated the match but seemed to have run out of ideas and en­ergy un­til the fi­nal minute when Jose Calle­jon’s outswing­ing cor­ner was met by the Sene­gal in­ter­na­tional.

In Spain, Atletico Madrid failed to break down Real Betis in a 0-0 draw which fur­ther re­duced their slim chances of catch­ing Barcelona at the top of La Liga, while Las Pal­mas were rel­e­gated af­ter a crush­ing 4-0 home de­feat by Alaves.

Diego Sime­one’s Atletico moved 11 points be­hind Barcelona with four games re­main­ing and the un­beaten lead­ers need one more point to win the ti­tle.

In the Ca­nary Is­lands, Mu­nir El Had­dadi struck twice with Al­varo Me­dran and Ruben So­brino also net­ting as four sec­ond-half goals from Alaves con­signed Las Pal­mas to rel­e­ga­tion in a mostly-empty sta­dium.

On Satur­day, An­dres Ini­esta and Lionel Messi helped Barcelona thrash Sevilla 5-0 to win the King’s Cup fi­nal for the fourth con­sec­u­tive sea­son.

Luis Suarez struck twice in the first half for the Cata­lans as they won the com­pe­ti­tion for a record 30th time, but it was Ini­esta and Messi who pulled all the strings as Barca blew away Vin­cenzo Mon­tella’s stunned side. Philippe Coutinho set up Suarez for the open­ing goal in the 14th minute and Barcelona dom­i­nated the rest of the game.


Napoli’s Kali­dou Koulibaly scores the win­ner against Ju­ven­tus.

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