• Napoli replies to Juventus to stay top in Serie A


    MILAN: Napoli matched Juventus with a 1-0 win over SPAL on Sunday (Monday in Manila) to regain top spot in Italy from the champions who had earlier won the Turin derby by the same score.

    The two Serie A pacesetters both bounced back from European setbacks to claim their ninth consecutive league wins.

    Napoli — shocked 3-1 at home by RB Leipzig in the Europa League — stayed top with a narrow home victory at their San Paulo Stadium and injury-depleted Juventus — held at home by Tottenham in the Champions League — continued their derby domination of Torino 1-0.

    “I expected a response after the Europa League,” said Napoli coach Maurizio Sarri, but added his side should have scored more.

    “We became too lazy and wanted to walk the ball into the net. We were acting 10 minutes from time as if we were 3-0 up, not 1-0.”

    Both clubs could thank Brazilians for the three points with Alex Sandro scoring for Juventus after 33 minutes and Allan putting Napoli ahead after just six minutes.

    Napoli have 66 points after 25 games with Juventus one point behind. AS Roma moved third 15 points behind the top two with a 2-0 win at Udinese Saturday as Inter Milan fell back into crisis with a 2-0 loss in Genoa.

    Luciano Spalletti’s side are now fourth and could fall to fifth if Lazio beat Verona on Monday.

    In Naples, Lorenzo Insigne hit the post after four minutes before Allan broke through after good work by Jorginho and Jose Callejon.

    Marek Hamsik thought he had scored a second after 63 minutes but the video assistant referee (VAR) ruled he was offside.

    It was a new club record of nine consecutive league wins for Napoli.

    “This team appears to only have Serie A in its mind and has no motivation for anything else,” added the Napoli coach of his side’s bid for a third Serie A title and first since 1990.



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