Serie A Review: Napoli keep pace with Juventus, Fiorentina lose


Napoli made light of Gonzalo Higuain's absence on Sunday, easing to a 3-0 win over Verona that keeps the pressure on Serie A leaders Juventus.

The hosts were missing their Argentine talisman through suspension but brushed aside the relegation-threatened visitors at Stadio San Paolo thanks to goals from Manolo Gabbiadini, Lorenzo Insigne and Jose Callejon.

The victory moves the Partenopei back to within six points of holders Juve, who came from behind to win 2-1 at AC Milan on Saturday. Verona meanwhile, who finished the match with 10 men, remain bottom, six points off the safety of 17th place.

Verona initially held out through a combination of the woodwork and goalkeeper Pierluigi Gollini, but their resistance was finally broken in the 33rd minute when Marek Hamsik lofted a ball forward to Callejon on the right side of the penalty area. The Spaniard volleyed a first-time effort at goal which was parried by Gollini, but the ball fell straight to Gabbiadini, who headed home the rebound.

Verona found themselves 2-0 behind and a man down in the 45th minute, Samuel Souprayen pushing over Callejon inside the area with the dangerous attacker racing through on goal.

Referee Domenico Celi had no choice but to point to the spot and brandish a red card, Insigne curling a confident finish into the side-netting from the spot.. 

Callejon put the result beyond all doubt with 20 minutes to go, finishing from close range after being found by substitute Omar El Kaddouri.

Earlier, Fiorentina's challenge for European qualification suffered another blow as they lost 2-0 at Empoli, goals from Manuel Pucciarelli and Piotr Zielinski at Stadio Carlo Castellani sealing a rare win for the hosts over their Tuscan rivals, who are fifth after failing to win in their last six Serie A matches.

In other matches on Sunday, Torino saw off Atalanta 2-1 at home, while Sampdoria overcame fellow strugglers Udinese 2-0.