MILAN, Oct 30 — Napoli reclaimed top spot in Serie A yesterday maintaining their unbeaten record with a win 3-1 at Sassuolo to retain their three-point cushion on Juventus and Lazio.
Ahead of hosting Manchester City in Champions League midweek, Napoli responded to Juventus’s 2-0 win at AC Milan yesterday.
Maurizio Sarri’s side have 31 points from 11 games, although undefeated Inter Milan could close the gap to two points at Verona on Monday.
Napoli took advantage of Sassuolo’s Stefano Sensi hitting the crossbar for Allan to open the scoring after 22 minutes.
Diego Falcinelli equalised for Sassuolo on 41 minutes but Jose Callejon got Napoli ahead again just before the break off a curling corner kick.
Dries Mertens completed the scoring after 54 minutes off a Raul Albiol assist as Napoli notched up a ninth win with at least three goals scored.
Lazio joined the leading group earlier yesterday with a 5-1 win at Benevento who slumped to an 11th defeat in as many games.
“We had everything to lose but we were able to make the match simple with a good approach,” said Lazio coach Simone Inzaghi.
Their first season in Serie A has been a nightmare for Benevento with the arrival of new coach Roberto De Zerbi this week doing little to improve the fortunes of the club from outside Naples with a witch on their crest.
They match French outfit Grenoble who dug themselves into a similar hole early on — a run off 11 successive defeats to open the 2009-10 campaign ultimately condemned them to relegation from Ligue 1.
No other European club in a major league have had a worse start to the season — apart from Manchester United, relegated after the 1930-1931 season after losing their first 12 matches.
Inzaghi’s Lazio are riding high despite the controversy which overshadowed the previous week when their fans posted photos of Anne Frank in a jersey of hated rivals Roma in the Stadio Olympico.
Ciro Immobile gave an inspirational performance again for Lazio — who claimed a sixth straight Serie A win — as he scored after 13 minutes and set up three goals.
“I’m happy with the three assists, as my teammates tell me I never pass the ball and only ever want to score, so they can’t complain now,” said Immobile, who has scored 14 goals in 11 matches.
Bastos opened after four minutes for Lazio with Adam Marusic also on target with the visitors leading 3-0 at the break.
Moroccan Achraf Lazaar pulled one back for Benevento in the second half — just their fourth goal of the season — but Lazio added another two through Marco Parolo and Nani, who scored his first goal since arriving in Rome this summer.
On Saturday, Gonzalo Higuain scored a brace to bring his tally of Serie A goals to 101 with a 2-0 win that plunged AC Milan further into crisis.
Higuain opened after 23 minutes in front of a capacity 80,000 crowd at Milan’s San Siro and grabbed a second on 63 minutes for the six-time reigning champions.
However, the future looks increasingly bleak for Milan coach Vincenzo Montella whose side are eighth, 15 points behind the leaders, and far below their objective of Champions League football next season.
Roma took all three points at Bologna thanks to an exquisite Stephan El Shaarawy volley to stay fifth, just ahead of Sampdoria who beat Chievo 4-1, as Crotone shocked Fiorentina 2-1. — AFP