MILAN (AP) – Napoli can end the year with a double-digit points lead at the top of Serie A.
Goals from Viktor Osimian, Piotr Zielinski and Iljaf Elmas saw Napoli beat Udinese 3-2 on Saturday for their 11th straight league win and open a significant gap on their rivals.
It was a nervous finish for the home side, however, as two late goals from substitute Ilya Nestorovski and Lazar Samardzic followed.
“Today was another demonstration of how hard it is to maintain the type of performance we have and how hard it is to win in Serie A,” Napoli coach Luciano Spalletti said. “What we have done so far should not be seen as par for the course because we are playing great football.
“The last 15 minutes of today shows what my players are doing visually and shows how hard they have worked for it.”
Five teams below Napoli do not play until Sunday, four of which face each other.
Whatever happens, Napoli are guaranteed to go at least eight points clear for the remainder of the year as Serie A takes a break for the World Cup and traditional winter break.
“I want to thank my players for an extraordinary first part of the season,” said Speletti. “Overall, the mentality, dedication and work ethic of my team is extraordinary.
“They are young, enthusiastic and make my job easy because they do everything I ask of them… Now we have to make sure we have the same attitude when the season starts again.”
By the time Italian football resumes, it will be three months since Adene’s last win, as the team went into free fall after an impressive start to the season.
Napoli took just 15 minutes to break the deadlock as Osimian headed home Elmas’ cross for his seventh goal in the last six league games.
Osimian also had a hand in Napoli’s second goal in the 31st as he ran into the counterattack and sent a delicious backheel pass to Hirving Lozano in midfield. Lozano picked out Zielinski who took a touch for control in the penalty area before curling into the far side of the net.
Napoli’s third goal also came from a counter attack. Andre Franck picked out Angwesa Elmas, who was in plenty of space on the right, and he cut inside to fire at the near post.
Napoli looked to be heading for a comfortable victory but Nestorovski pulled one back in the 79th and Samardzic reduced the gap further three minutes later when he robbed Kim Min-jae of the ball and before heading in from the 25 Put it in the lower left corner and go ahead. yards
Rebellion of followers
Sampdoria fans were furious with their team and continued to protest at the stadium after a fourth straight defeat left the club in the bottom three in their worst start to a season.
Lorenzo Colombo scored on the stroke of half-hour and set up a late goal for Lamic Banda as Lecce won 2-0 at Sampdoria.
Samp boss Dijan Stankovic was suspended for the game and could only watch in visible frustration from the stands as his side fell to their fifth defeat in seven league matches since taking charge.
Sampdoria were four points adrift of safety ahead of the weekend’s fixtures while Lakes moved eight points clear of the relegation zone.