Juve pressure Milan with Napoli win
Juventus reduced the arrears on AC Milan at the top of Serie A to two points thanks to a 3-0 win over fourth-placed Napoli at the Juventus Stadium.
Napoli ended the game with ten men after losing Juan Zuniga in the second half, and they joined fellow UEFA Champions League-chasing sides Udinese and Lazio in losing this weekend, leaving Roma as the real benefactors with a win over Novara today bringing them back into contention for third spot.
Andrea Pirlo was the dangerman in a bright opening for the home side. Napoli simply did not learn their lesson as they kept committing fouls around their own penalty area, and each time, the Italian international posed a threat.
In the fifth minute, Marco Borriello was only an inch away from heading in his teasing free-kick from close range. After half an hour, another Pirlo free-kick was headed wide of the far post by Vidal before another free-kick was almost diverted in by a Napoli defender, but Morgan de Sanctis got his fingertips to the ball to push it away.
Napoli gave away another free-kick in the 53rd minute which Pirlo again sent the ball into the danger area, where it broke loose to Mirko Vucinic. His shot deflected in off the knee of Bonucci, who took credit for a goal he knew little about. Vucinic was on target five minutes later, but the goal was ruled out for offside.
Juve deservedly doubled their lead in the 75th minute when Vidal did a few stepovers during which it was not clear whether even he knew where he was going, but he took the ball forward with his left foot and shot across De Sanctis into the far corner, showing he was indeed in full control.
A minute later, Vucinic spotted De Sanctis off his goal-line and tried his luck from the halfway line with the Napoli goalkeeper scampering back and diving despairingly only to see the ball land just wide. Alessandro del Piero's first touch after coming on as a substitute was to set up his fellow substitute Quagliarella for the third in the 83rd minute. The former Napoli striker beat De Sanctis inside his near post, but did not celebrate his goal.
Zuniga let off steam three minutes later, receiving his marching orders for elbowing Giorgio Chiellini just in front of the linesman. It was a fitting end to a frustrating night for Napoli, who remain three points behind third-placed Lazio