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Serie A wrap: Napoli stays top, Roma and AC Milan held


during the Serie A match between Udinese Calcio and SSC Napoli at Stadio Friuli on November 26, 2017 in Udine, Italy.

Dino Panato

Napoli remained at the top of the Serie A table, jumping back over Inter with a 1-0 win at Udinese.

The Italian leaders weren’t at their best, but Jorginho dispatched the rebound of a saved penalty past the half-hour mark, and that was enough for the victory. Despite 64% possession, Napoli only managed 9 total shots, four of those on target. Udinese actually out-shot them.

Even the goal was ugly, as Jorginho’s penalty was horrifically misplaced and weak, easily saved by Simone Scuffet. However the goalkeeper disappointingly failed to hold onto the ball, and the 25-year-old midfielder was there to tap in the rebound.

In the end, a win is a win, and Napoli moved back to its two-point lead, leap-frogging Inter who had won 3-1 at Cagliari yesterday.

Elsewhere, Juventus also kept pace with the leaders with a 3-0 demolition of Crotone in Turin. The defending champions held a masterful 81% possession, ripped off 25 shots, and put 10 of those on target. They got second-half goals from Mario Mandzukic, Mattia de Sciglio, and Medhi Benatia.

Mandzukic’s was the opener, his textbook looping header just five minutes after the break. De Sciglio struck eight minutes later, a screamer from outside the box. Benatia finished it off with the easiest goal of his life as a diving Crotone goalkeeper Alex Cordaz saw a cross get by him, leaving the Juventus defender with an empty-net tap-in inches from the goal line.

In Genoa, AS Roma was held to a 1-1 draw that saw them drop to seven points back of Napoli at the top of the table. Roma took the lead just before the hour mark by Stephen El Shaarawy, but Daniele de Rossi was sent off 10 minutes later for slapping Gianluca Lapadula in the box, and Lapadula buried the ensuing penalty for the equalizer.

AC Milan also settled for a point, seeing out a 0-0 result at home against 10th-placed Torino. The draw saw Milan’s record slide to just two wins in their last nine matches despite out-shooting Torino 17-8. The visitors nearly grabbed a win four minutes from full-time as Andrea Belotti saw his header saved by Gianluigi Donnarumma and Iago Falque’s rebound effort was blocked.

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