Destro stuns Napoli, Fiorentina up to second

AFP , Sunday 6 Dec 2015

Fiorentina's Josip Ilicic, left, celebrates with teammates after scoring during a Serie A soccer match between Fiorentina and Udinese, at the Artemio Franchi stadium in Florence, Italy, Sunday, Dec. 7, 2015. (AP)

Mattia Destro hit a brace in a 3-2 win as Bologna dented Napoli's Serie A title hopes, while Fiorentina moved up to second behind leaders Inter with a 2-0 win over Udinese.

Napoli travelled to the Dall'Ara stadium expecting to maintain a long unbeaten run that has seen Maurizio Sarri's men become bona fide challengers to defending champions Juventus.

But the Azzurri struggled to recover after going 2-0 down before the half-hour as Luca Rossettini added to Destro's 14th-minute opener.

Destro hit his second on the hour and although Gonzalo Higuain hit a last-gasp brace to set up a tense finale, the hosts hung on for just their fifth win of the season to move two points clear of the drop zone.

"Before the game I told the lads not to think too much about Napoli, they have top players but it was important to focus on our strengths, to press them, attack and try to put them in difficulty," said Bologna coach Roberto Donadoni, a former Napoli coach.

"The lads were incredible, they went out and did exactly what we had planned to do."

Napoli had gone top of the pile for the first time in 25 years last week with a 2-1 win over Inter Milan.

But after Inter reclaimed first place with a 1-0 win against Genoa on Saturday, Sarri's men are now two points adrift in third after seeing Fiorentina maintain their push for honours this season.

Fiorentina moved up to second place at just one point behind after goals from Milan Badelj, Josip Ilicic, from the spot, and Gonzalo Rodriguez five minutes from the whistle secured a 3-0 home win over Udinese at a packed Artemio Franchi stadium.

Roma, held 1-1 at Torino on Saturday when Maxi Lopez hit a last-gasp penalty to level Miralem Pjanic's superb free kick, remain in fourth at five points behind.

Juventus had claimed their fifth consecutive win on Friday after outclassing Lazio 2-0 in the Italian capital and are now just six points adrift and only one behind Roma.

Sarri had warned his side risked being fatigued due to their Europa League commitments but the Napoli coach suggested Destro had been marginally offside for his opener.

"We went a goal down because of a refereeing mistake and at the start of the second half we had four clear chances to score," said Sarri.

"When we didn't, and they got their third goal, the heads went down and that is a big mistake because the final minutes showed we still had plenty to give."

- Renaissance -

Bologna have enjoyed a renaissance since Donadoni took over from the sacked Delio Rossi last month and pounced on slack Napoli defending to take a 2-0 lead by the 21st minute thanks to Destro and a Rossettini header from a corner.

Antonio Mirante was forced to save from Lorenzo Insigne and then, in spectacular fashion, to touch Jose Callejon's deflected volley onto the post.

Napoli were firing on all cylinders when they emerged from the interval, but Higuain, Allan and Callejon all missed opportunities before an error by Marek Hamsik allowed Destro to fire under a nervous-looking Reina on the hour.

Higuain reduced arrears on 87 minutes when he flicked Insigne's cross past Mirante and then again when he collected a Callejon long ball to fire past the 'keeper from just inside the box.

But it was not enough for Napoli, who suffered their first defeat since losing to Sassuolo on the opening day of the season.

Elsewhere, German Denis, Nicolo Cherubin and Dutchman Martin De Roon struck as Atalanta built on their shock 2-0 win at Roma last week with a 3-0 rout of Palermo to move up to sixth.

Chievo snatched a late 2-0 win at Frosinone thanks to Alberto Paloschi's 89th minute penalty and Riccardo Meggiorini's late strike, while winless Verona's woes continued after Andrea Costa struck on the hour to secure a 1-0 win for visitors Empoli.

In Sunday's later games Sampdoria host Sassuolo and AC Milan are away to Carpi looking to close their 10-point gap to city rivals Inter.

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)

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