The New Zealand Herald

Napoli grab late brace to remain in title hunt


Napoli scored twice in the final two minutes for a come-from-behind 2-1 win over Chievo Verona yesterday that kept the southern team’s Italian Serie A hopes alive.

Arkadiusz Milik headed in the equaliser in the 89th minute and Amadou Diawara curled in the winner in added time.

It was the first goal in 69 Serie A appearance­s for Diawara, a 20-yearold from Guinea who got a rare start in place of the suspended Jorginho.

“I dedicate this goal to my mother, who died a year before I came to Italy, so she didn’t get to see me play in Serie A,” Diawara said.

Napoli moved back within four points of Italian leader Juventus, who won 4-2 at Benevento on Sunday. The leaders meet in two weeks. “We won a game that we thoroughly deserved to win,” Napoli coach Maurizio Sarri said. “It had seemed cursed, as we had 31 shots on goal, missed a penalty, hit the woodwork. It was one of those classic games where the team does everything right and the ball won’t go in.”

“However, at the end they kept pushing and the logical conclusion was to win the match.”

Mariusz Stepinski had put Chievo ahead in the 73rd minute after being set up by Emanuele Giaccherin­i, who was loaned by Napoli in January.

Earlier, Dries Mertens had a penalty blocked by Chievo goalkeeper Stefano Sorrentino, who has now saved three of his last four penalties.

Napoli are aiming for their first Serie A title since Diego Maradona led the club to their only two championsh­ips in 1987 and 1990.

Ciro Immobile scored one goal and set up another in Lazio’s 2-1 win at Udinese and set a club record with his 27th goal of the season.

After Kevin Lasagna’s opener for Udinese, Immobile equalised from close range.

The Italy striker eclipsed the club record for goals in a season, which he had shared with Hernan Crespo and Giuseppe Signori on 26 each.

Torino beat visiting Inter 1-0 with a first-half goal from Adem Ljajic and a strong performanc­e from goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu.

AC Milan remained sixth after a 1-all draw at home with Sassuolo.

Nikola Kalinic equalised for Milan with four minutes left after Matteo Politano had put Sassuolo ahead.

Relegation-threatened Crotone beat Bologna 1-0 with an early goal from Simeon Tochukwu Nwankwo.

Hellas Verona, in penultimat­e place, defeated Cagliari 1-0 with a penalty from Romulo. — AP

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