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18 April 2024

Napoli close gap on Juve as Torino hold Inter

Napoli's Edinson Cavani celebrates after scoring against Parma during the Italian Serie A match on January 27, 2013 at Parma's Tardini Comunal stadium. (AFP)


Edinson Cavani scored his league-leading 18th goal in Serie A this season to take Napoli to within three points of leaders Juventus as Parma lost their unbeaten home record on Sunday.

Juventus had spurned the chance to secure an eight-point lead on Saturday when they were denied a last-gasp penalty in a 1-1 draw at home to Genoa.

Juve coach Antonio Conte later called for referee Marco Guida's resignation after he refused to point to the spot when the ball came off the forearm of Genoa defender Andreas Granqvist in the final minute of injury time.

"The rules are clear, the arm must be close to the body. In such cases, you have to hand in your refereeing licence," said Conte.

Juve president Beppe Marotta hit out at the fact the referee originates from near Naples.

"Making him officiate Juve isn't putting him in the best possible conditions. Furthermore, I ask myself what is the point of having six officials if the referee and goal-line official are not on the same wavelength?" he said.

Genoa president Enrico Preziosi, however, suggested Juve's outburst was wide of the mark.

"Why do some clubs think they can bully other clubs? This is arrogance," he told SkySport24.

It gave Napoli an extra incentive on Sunday, but Walter Mazzarri's side were made to work by a Parma side battling to protect their impressive unbeaten record at home.

Napoli opened the scoring in the 20th minute through Marek Hamsik only for defender Paolo Cannavaro to turn Nicola Sansone's shot across goal into his own net for Parma's second-half equaliser.

In the 85th minute, however, Cavani ran on to a through ball and rounded Mirante to seal the win with a classy finish.

Napoli remain second on 46 points but are now just three behind Juve and three clear of Lazio, who were stunned 1-0 by Chievo at the Olympic Stadium.

Cannavaro, the brother of former Italy defender Fabio, added: "The title race is neither open nor closed. The important thing is to simply be in the race."

AC Milan survived some tense moments away to Atalanta but emerged with a precious 1-0 win thanks to Stephan El Shaarawy's first-half strike following an M'Baye Niang's through ball.

Milan's 11th win moved them up to fifth, 12 points behind Juve with Fiorentina going the other way after a 2-1 defeat at Catania.

Inter Milan, meanwhile, were left nine points behind Juve after being held 2-2 at the San Siro by a spirited Torino, who notched their 10th draw of the campaign.

Inter got off to the perfect start when Romanian Cristian Chivu sent a sumptuous freekick past Jean-Francois Gillet in the Torino net after five minutes.

But a spectacular mix-up on 23 minutes allowed Toro to pull level.

Samir Handanovic passed out to Freddy Guarin, only for the Colombian to lose possession to Riccardo Meggiorini, who performed a one-two with Paulo Barretto before beating the Inter 'keeper for his first goal of the season.

Inter's defence was found wanting again seven minutes after the restart when Alessio Cerci surged down the right and delivered for Meggiorini to beat Handanovic with a first-timer at his far post.

Inter fought back, however, and were rewarded when unmarked Esteban Cambiasso slotted home from the left of goal in the 66th minute to level.

Both sides failed to capitalise on further chances to seal the win, with both Handanovic and Gillet pulling off a series of stunning saves.

Earlier, Argentinian teenager Mauro Icardi scored four as Sampdoria thrashed Pescara 6-0 in Genoa.

Bologna and Roma, meanwhile, shared the spoils in a six-goal thriller with Greek midfielder Panagiotis Tachtsidis heading home a free kick on 74 minutes to secure a point for Zdenek Zeman's visitors.