Napoli draws against Torino to all but hand Juventus title
Napoli is six points behind Juventus with two matches remaining. The two sides have the same head-to-head record – which is the next deciding factor after points – but Juventus has a significantly better goal difference.
Juventus can mathematically secure the title at Roma next weekend.
”We fought at the top right until the end, the title race was decided by certain episodes,” Napoli coach Maurizio Sarri said.
”We did everything possible to make life difficult for Juventus, but they have better resources than us and we really couldn’t do anything more than this.”
The match in Naples was marked by chants and banners in support of Sarri, who was criticized by club president Aurelio De Laurentiis last week.
”We have always improved in the past three years and I hope that Sarri remains to continue our growth,” Napoli captain Marek Hamsik said after the match.
After Juventus beat Bologna on Saturday, Napoli knew it needed a victory to keep the title race alive.
Host Napoli wasted a couple of opportunities before taking the lead in the 25th minute.
It was Dries Mertens‘ 31st birthday and Nicolas Burdisso gifted him a goal as he failed to control a backpass with two awful touches, allowing the Belgium international to pounce and end his eight-round goal drought.
Substitute Arkadiusz Milik almost restored Napoli’s lead in the 70th minute but his powerful effort crashed off the left post.
Shortly after, Hamsik, who had been on the pitch for less than two minutes, fired Napoli in front again by curling into the right side of the net. It was his 100th goal in Serie A.
Milik should have sealed the result but he fired inches wide of the left post from close range and Lorenzo De Silvestri headed in the equalizer seven minutes from time.
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FIGHT
The fight for the final two Champions League spots from Serie A is heating up and Roma took a significant step toward reaching next season’s tournament with a 1-0 win at Cagliari.
Cengiz Under scored the only goal in the 15th minute and a combination of poor misses from Cagliari and superb saves from Roma goalkeeper Alisson secured all three points for the visitors.
The top four qualify for Europe’s premier club competition and Inter Milan is two points behind Lazio after winning 4-0 at Udinese, which has picked up just two points from its past 14 matches.
Chievo, Crotone and Udinese are all level on 34 points, just one ahead of 18th-place Cagliari.
Spal moved to 14th, two points above the drop zone, after beating already relegated Benevento 2-0.
Sassuolo secured safety with a 1-0 victory over Sampdoria.
The American-born Rossi, who has had a series of knee operations, netted in the 64th to cancel out Marco Benassi’s first-half opener.
Valentin Eysseric leveled in the 77th and Bryan Dabo scored the winner three minutes later.
More AP Serie A coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/SerieA