Napoli draws 0-0 against Fiorentina, fails to go back top
MILAN (AP) Napoli is struggling without Lorenzo Insigne and was held to a goalless draw by Fiorentina in Serie A on Sunday.
Maurizio Sarri’s team could have gone back top of the league but it remained second, a point behind Inter Milan and one above Juventus after those two sides drew 0-0 on Saturday.
All of the top four teams failed to score this weekend. Roma remained five points behind Inter as it was also held to a 0-0 draw, at Chievo Verona.
AC Milan got its first league win since Nov. 5 and its first under new coach Gennaro Gattuso as it beat Bologna 2-1.
Napoli knew a victory over Fiorentina would see it reclaim top spot but it was coming off the back of successive defeats to Juventus and Feyenoord, the latter of which saw it eliminated from the Champions League.
”Today I didn’t see the same attacking problems we had in Rotterdam,” Sarri said. ”We had a bit of a nervy first half but then we created chances … we just lacked the finishing touch but we’ll get back to scoring.
”We looked good tonight and, if we had won 1-0, everyone would be talking about Napoli being back. We had a good tempo, we passed the ball quickly, moved well, we were better than in previous matches … I don’t know if we’ll have Insigne back for the next match, we’re evaluating the situation day by day.”
Insigne limped out of the Juventus match with a groin injury and Napoli had been struggling for goals since.
Fiorentina had the best chances in the first half and should have scored five minutes from the break but Napoli goalkeeper Pepe Reina kept out Giovanni Simeone’s effort after he had been sent clear by Cyril Thereau.
Napoli upped the pressure in the second half and Piotr Zielinski should have scored but he fired over the bar from close range.
Zielinski went even closer in the 55th but Fiorentina goalkeeper Marco Sportiello turned his effort onto the left post.
Napoli laid siege to Fiorentina’s goal but could not find the strike that would have sent it back to the top of the table.
Roma was thwarted by the heroics of Chievo goalkeeper Stefano Sorrentino and some wayward finishing.
Sorrentino had a point to prove after allowing five goals against Inter Milan last week and he pulled off a number of brilliant saves.
The 38-year-old displayed remarkable reflexes midway through the first period to deny first Patrik Schick and then immediately parry Gerson’s follow-up.
Sorrentino did even better eight minutes from time as Schick’s effort took a huge deflection and the goalkeeper was already falling the other way, but stuck out his trailing foot to prevent a late winner.
”All the craziness that’s inside me came out,” Sorrentino said. ”My mother and her family are all huge Roma fans and she came from Turin to come and see the match. Today she was supporting me but she says that if you cut her she bleeds red and yellow (the Roma colors) and not just red.”
Roma was also denied on other opportunities while Edin Dzeko volleyed over from close range late on.
Chievo’s best chance came early when Roberto Inglese hit the crossbar.
Giacomo Bonaventura netted two goals to help Milan recover from last week’s shock draw at Benevento.
Bologna was level with Milan on 21 points going into the match at San Siro but it was the Rossoneri who took the lead in the 10th minute when Nikola Kalinic headed down Ignazio Abate’s ball for Bonaventura to fire home.
It was Milan’s first league goal at home since Sept. 20.
Simone Verdi leveled 13 minutes later but Bonaventura doubled his tally with a header 14 minutes from time.
There was no repeat of last week’s joy for Benevento as it lost 2-0 at Udinese.
Benevento had picked up its first-ever point in Serie A with a draw against Milan, but Antonin Barak and Kevin Lasagna scored in the first half to help Udinese move seven points away from the relegation zone.
Elsewhere, two goals in the final four minutes, including an equalizer from the penalty spot, saw Spal come back to draw against Hellas Verona 2-2 in a relegation fight.
Only one point separates the two sides in the bottom three.
Sassuolo forward Alessandro Matri had a late penalty saved but his team still beat Crotone 2-1.
More AP Serie A coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/SerieA