Higuain helps Napoli shoot down spirited Milan

Napoli's Gonzalo Higuain celebrates after scoring against AC Milan during their Italian Serie A match at San Paolo stadium in Naples February 8, 2014. (REUTERS)

Gonzalo Higuain shot Napoli to within three points of AS Roma after scoring twice in his side's entertaining 3-1 victory over AC Milan in Serie A on Saturday.

The Argentine striker is second behind Fiorentina's Giuseppe Rossi in the Serie A scoring standings with 12 for the season.

His glancing header 11 minutes after the break and tap-in eight minutes from time moved Rafael Benitez's side up to 47 points in third place.

Napoli are three behind second-placed Roma, who have a game in hand and await the Rome derby with Lazio on Sunday (1400 GMT), but 12 behind league leaders and champions Juventus.

The win was the hosts' first in four league games and well deserved despite Adel Taarabt opening the scoring with a superb solo goal seven minutes into his Milan debut.

Gokhan Inler levelled four minutes later with a long range shot that fortuitously deflected over Milan goalkeeper Christian Abbiati.

"The game started badly for us, but the team reacted strongly," said goalscorer Higuain.

"I am convinced we are on the right track. We have played well recently and not had the luck, but we've always showed character. I am happy we got the win against a great side."

Milan stay in 10th on 29 points after their first league defeat under Clarence Seedorf, who took over the side on January 16.

Napoli are three points ahead of Fiorentina, who beat 12th-placed Atalanta 2-0 thanks to a stunning 16th-minute free kick from Slovenia international Josip Ilicic and a smart solo effort from Rafal Wolski four minutes from time.

Udinese moved a point behind Atalanta in 13th after a 3-0 victory over Chievo.

Antonio Di Natale scored his third goal in as many games nine minutes after the break, Bruno Fernandes added a second in the 74th minute and Ghana international Emmanuel Agyemang Badu hit the third with four minutes to go.

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