New Straits Times

Napoli’s title hopes take major blow

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MILAN: Serie A leaders Napoli’s title hopes suffered a setback when they collapsed to a 4-2 defeat at home to AS Roma on Saturday, while Paulo Dybala scored from a seemingly hopeless position in stoppage time to give rivals Juventus a 1-0 win at Lazio.

Dybala’s goal gave Juventus their 10th successive league win, while Napoli saw their own 10match winning run in Serie A ended by two goals from Edin Dzeko and one apiece from Cengiz Under and Diego Perotti.

Dzeko becomes the first player to score at least 50 goals in three of the top-five leagues in Europe — 66 in the Bundesliga, 50 in the English Premier League and 50 in Serie A.

Napoli, beaten for only the second time this season in the league, lead with 69 points from 27 games but Juventus are only one behind and, crucially, have a game in hand at home to Atalanta on March 14, the fixture having been snowed off last Sunday.

“There were a lot of positives in this game,” insisted Napoli coach Maurizio Sarri whose only other league loss this season had been at home to Juventus in December.

“We had 27 shots so we are just trying to figure out how Roma scored so easily. We are sorry for our great crowd but the tifosi know that we always give our maximum.”

Juventus kept a clean sheet for the seventh consecutiv­e time in the league and the only team to have scored against them in any competitio­n this year are Tottenham Hotspur, wh o host the Turin side on Wednesday in the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie.

“A draw would also have been fair but these are three very important points,” said Juventus coach Massimilia­no Allegri.

The defeat completed a tough week for Lazio who lost their Coppa Italia semi-final on penalties to AC Milan on Wednesday.

“That’s football, there were 20 seconds to go,” said Lazio coach Simone Inzaghi. “We played well, we conceded nothing to Juve and we are disappoint­ed at the way it finished.”

 ?? REUTERS PIC ?? Juventus’ Paulo Dybala (right) tries to nutmeg Lazio’s Luiz Felipe in their Serie A match the Olimpico Stadium on Saturday.
REUTERS PIC Juventus’ Paulo Dybala (right) tries to nutmeg Lazio’s Luiz Felipe in their Serie A match the Olimpico Stadium on Saturday.

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