Napoli leaves it late to keep title hopes alive
ROME (AP) — Napoli scored twice in the final two minutes for a come-from-behind 2-1 win over Chievo Verona on Sunday that kept the southern team’s title hopes alive.
Arkadiusz Milik connected with a long pass from Lorenzo Insigne to head in the equalizer in the 89th. Amadou Diawara then quickly controlled the ball and sent a curling shot inside the far post for the winner in added time.
It was the first goal in 69 Serie A appearances for Diawara, a 20-year-old from Guinea who got a rare start in place of the suspended Jorginho.
“I dedicate this goal to my mother, who died a year before I came to Italy, so she didn’t get to see me play in Serie A,” Diawara said.
Napoli moved back within four points of Italian leader Juventus, which won 4-2 at Benevento on Saturday.
The leaders meet in two weeks.
“We won a game that we thoroughly deserved to win,” Napoli coach Maurizio Sarri said. “It had seemed cursed, as we had 31 shots on goal, missed a penalty, hit the woodwork. It was one of those classic games where the team does everything right and the ball won’t go in.”
“However, at the end they kept pushing and the logical conclusion was to win the match.”
Sarri said he was “particularly pleased” that the goals were scored by Milik — who recently returned from his second long-term knee injury in two seasons — and Diawara.
Mariusz Stepinski had put Chievo ahead in the 73rd after being set up by Emanuele Giaccherini, who was loaned by Napoli in January.
Earlier, Dries Mertens had a penalty blocked by Chievo goalkeeper Stefano Sorrentino, who has now saved three of his last four penalties.
Also, Napoli’s Lorenzo Tonelli hit the crossbar.
Napoli is aiming for its first Serie A title since Diego Maradona led the club to its only two championships in 1987 and 1990.
Ciro Immobile scored one goal and set up another in Lazio’s 2-1 win at Udinese and set a club record with his 27th goal of the season.
After Kevin Lasagna’s opener for Udinese, Immobile equalized from close range.
The Italy striker eclipsed the club record for goals in a single season, which he had shared with Hernan Crespo and Giuseppe Signori on 26 each.
Still before the break, Immobile’s through ball set up Luis Alberto’s winner.
Lazio moved ahead of Roma and Inter Milan into third place amid a tight race for the top four and Champions League berths.
Lazio hosts Roma in the Rome derby next weekend.
Udinese has lost eight straight.
In the lunchtime fixture, Torino beat visiting Inter 1-0 with a first-half goal from Adem Ljajic and a strong performance from goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu.
Inter winger Ivan Perisic lost control and then involuntarily set up Lorenzo De Silvestri, who placed the ball at the far post for Ljajic to tap in.
Inter dropped to fifth, one point behind Lazio and Roma.
AC Milan remained sixth after a 1-1 draw at home with Sassuolo.
Nikola Kalinic equalized for Milan with four minutes remaining after Matteo Politano had put Sassuolo ahead.
Kalinic received a pass in the center of the area, controlled the ball, then turned around and hit the target.
Relegation-threatened Crotone beat Bologna 1-0 with an early goal from Simeon “Simy” Tochukwu Nwankwo.
Hellas Verona, in penultimate place, defeated Cagliari 1-0 with a penalty from Romulo.
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