Napoli beat Sampdoria to close gap on Roma

Rome, Jan 7: Napoli beat Sampdoria 2-0 to close the gap on second placed Roma to just two points while Kaka scored his 100th goal for AC Milan in their 3-0 win over Atalanta at home in Italian Serie A.

With Roma losing 0-3 to leaders Juventus Sunday, Rafa Benitez’s side had the chance to edge themselves closer to the capital club. And thanks to a second-half brace from Dries Mertens, Napoli ran out winners against Sampdoria although they still remain 10 points adrift of Juve, reports Xinhua.

The Partenopei were made to work hard by their opponents who were twice denied by the woodwork in the second half. Sampdoria head coach Sinisa Mihajlovic said Napoli deserved the victory but was happy with the performance of his side.

“Without doubt, Napoli deserved the victory and we have nothing to complain about. It can happen to lose here but the most important things were the performance and the chances that we managed to create against a strong side like Napoli in their own stadium,” Mihajlovic said.

Napoli head coach Benitez warned his side should “be quicker at finishing off games”.

“The team had many scoring opportunities and could’ve made the difference in the first half. The game was more open in the second and they caused us problems but we got the goals,” Benitez said.

Kaka became the 10th Milan player to reach the 100-goal mark for the club with a brace against Atalanta at San Siro. He scored on either side of halftime before Bryan Cristante registered his first for Milan to help them to a first win in four league matches which follows the announcement of coach Massimiliano Allegri that he will leave at the end of the season.

Miroslav Klose’s late winner against Inter Milan gave Edy Reja a successful start to his second spell in charge of Lazio. The German forward struck nine minutes from time to hand Lazio a 1-0 victory in their first game of 2014.

Lazio, who had won just one of their last eight league matches, decided to sack Vladimir Petkovic at the weekend. The victory has lifted the Romans to 10th while it has left Inter in sixth, eight points behind third-placed Napoli.

Parma moved within two points of Torino thanks to a 3-1 win over Giampiero Ventura’s charges at the Stadio Ennio Tardini. After Ciro Immobile put the visitors ahead, goals from Marco Marchionni and Alessandro Lucarelli ensured Parma were on top at the break.

Bottom side Catania picked up a vital win in their relegation fight, edging Bologna 2-0 thanks to goals in either half from Gonzalo Bergessio and Francesco Lodi.

First-half goals from Alberto Gilardino and Andrea Bertolacci proved too much for Sassuolo while Udinese’s disappointing season continued with a 1-3 home defeat to Verona.

IANS