Rediff.com  » Sports » Europe football round-up: Napoli take slender lead; Di Maria stars in PSG win

Europe football round-up: Napoli take slender lead; Di Maria stars in PSG win

Last updated on: February 08, 2016 12:14 IST
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A summary of the results of the football matches played across Europe on Sunday

Napoli's Gonzalo Higuain celebrates the opening goal against Carpi FC during their Serie A match at Stadio San Paolo in Naples on Sunday

IMAGE: Napoli's Gonzalo Higuain celebrates the opening goal against Carpi FC during their Serie A match at Stadio San Paolo in Naples on Sunday. Photograph: Maurizio Lagana/Getty Images

Napoli beat 10-man visitors Carpi 1-0 and Juventus won 2-0 at second-bottom Frosinone on Sunday as the leading pair extended their Serie A winning streaks to move further ahead at the top of the table.

Napoli saw off lowly Carpi thanks to Gonzalo Higuain's penalty for a club-record eighth consecutive league win to keep a two-point lead, while Juve in second made it 14 straight wins as goals by Juan Cuadrado and Paulo Dybala downed Frosinone.

Serie A looks like a two-horse race after Inter Milan failed to reignite their flickering title hopes as Ivan Perisic's late equaliser salvaged a 3-3 draw at bottom club Hellas Verona.

The result leaves Inter fourth on 45 points, 11 behind leaders Napoli and nine adrift of Juve, with Fiorentina in third place on 46 after they drew 1-1 at Bologna on Saturday.

Fifth-placed AS Roma capitalised on the failure of Inter and Fiore to win as they closed within a point of the top four with a 2-1 home victory over Sampdoria that took them to 44.

Napoli fans supported defender Kalidou Koulibaly, who suffered racist abuse in a midweek win at Lazio, by wearing masks of the Senegal international, and the centre back won the decsisive 69th-minute penalty when fouled by Fabio Daprela.

Juventus' Paul Pogba and Frosinone's Raman Chibsah vie for the ball during their Serie A match at Stadio Matusa in Frosinone on Sunday

IMAGE: Juventus' Paul Pogba and Frosinone's Raman Chibsah vie for the ball during their Serie A match at Stadio Matusa in Frosinone on Sunday. Photograph: Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images

Higuain converted the spot kick for his 24th goal of the season to edge a resilient Carpi side who had Raffaele Bianco dismissed for a second yellow card in a case of mistaken identity in the 56th minute.

Juve defeated relegation-threatened Frosinone after a 73rd-minute opener from Chelsea loanee Cuadrado and a delicious curling effort from Dybala in the first minute of stoppage time.

The top two meet on Saturday when Napoli travel to Turin, although Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri has refused to consider the match a title decider.

A header by Roma's Alessandro Florenzi's and Diego Perotti's stunning volley helped the Capital club, whose kit carried a message celebrating Chinese New Year, to a 2-1 home win over lowly Sampdoria.

Sixth-placed AC Milan drew 1-1 with Udinese, Sassuolo and Palermo drew 2-2 and Chievo won 2-1 at Torino.

Di Maria grabs winner as PSG sink rivals Marseille 2-1

Paris St Germain's Angel Di Maria (left) celebrates with teammate Zlatan Ibrahimovic after scoring against Olympique Marseille during their French Ligue 1 match at Velodrome stadium in Marseille on Sunday

IMAGE: Paris St Germain's Angel Di Maria (left) celebrates with teammate Zlatan Ibrahimovic after scoring against Olympique Marseille during their French Ligue 1 match at Velodrome stadium in Marseille on Sunday. Photograph: Jean-Paul Pelissier/Reuters

A moment of class from Angel Di Maria gave Paris St Germain a 2-1 win at bitter rivals Olympique de Marseille as the French champions stretched their unbeaten Ligue 1 run to a record-extending 34 games on Sunday.

The Argentine winger netted the winner in the 71st minute after Remy Cabella had cancelled out Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s early opener to put PSG on 69 points from 25 games.

Laurent Blanc’s side lead second-placed Monaco, who beat Nice 1-0 in the French Riviera derby on Saturday, by 24 points. Marseille are 10th on 34 points.

PSG got off to a dream start, with Ibrahimovic tapping in from close range at the far post from Maxwell’s cross in the second minute.

Marseille, however, pushed hard and they were rewarded in the 25th minute when Cabella ran 50 metres with the ball, almost unchallenged, before firing home from just outside the box.

Marseille's Michy Batshuayi had a shot cleared off the line by Maxwell five minutes before the break, as PSG looked unusually shaky at the back and in the midfield nine days before the first leg of their clash with Chelsea.

Yet with 19 minutes remaining, Ibrahimovic set up Di Maria in the box and the Argentine effortlessly dribbled past Brice Dja Djedje before coolly beating Steve Mandanda as PSG completed a third successive league double over their rivals.

It was Di Maria's ninth league goal this season from 19 appearances, while he also has 10 assists.

Cabella blamed Marseille's defeat on their failure to take their chances. “We can be disappointed, it’s another home defeat," he said. "We did the job but you have to convert your chances."

Hamburg stretch winless streak

Hamburg players celebrate a goal

IMAGE: Hamburg's Johan Djourou (right) celebrates with teammates after they scored the equaliser against Cologne on Sunday. Photograph: Johan Djourou/Twitter

Hamburg SV were held to a 1-1 draw at home to Cologne in the Bundesliga on Sunday, stretching their winless streak to six league matches and pushing them closer to the drop zone.

Hamburg, who needed a relegation playoff to stay up in the past two seasons, have taken two points from their last six matches. They have lost four of them and are in 13th place on 23 points, four above the playoff spot.

Their last home win was in November.

Cologne, ninth on 26 points, got their break four minutes before halftime when Hamburg's Johan Djourou tried to dribble past Simon Zoller, who won the ball and fired into the net without hesitation.

Hamburg equalised two minutes after halftime, Nicolai Mueller charging through and beating keeper Timo Horn with a stunning left-foot shot from the edge of the box.

Cologne then forced two superb saves from Rene Adler, who tipped Marcel Risse's free-kick onto the bar in the 66th. They had earlier hit the woodwork with an Anthony Modeste header.

Promoted Darmstadt 98 moved up to 11th with a 2-0 win at Hoffenheim, who are languishing in 17th place having won once at home all season.

Leaders Bayern Munich are eight points clear after drawing 0-0 at Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday, with second-placed Borussia Dortmund, on 45, playing out a goalless draw at Hertha Berlin.

Ajax go atop Dutch table

PSV Eindhoven won 2-0 at Utrecht to stay a point ahead of Ajax Amsterdam as the Dutch championship turned into a two-horse race.

PSV's Colombian defender Santiago Arias and new signing Marco van Ginkel scored in the first 20 minutes to take their team to 53 points.

Ajax put Feyenoord all but out of contention for the title with a 2-1 home win that left their opponents in fourth place, 17 points off the pace. Heracles Almelo are up to third after a 2-0 win over PEC Zwolle but are still 15 points behind PSV.

Leaders Olympiakos beat PAOK on Gate 7 anniversary

Olympiakos Piraeus's Omar Elabdellaoui earned the Super League leaders a 1-0 home win over PAOK Salonica on an emotionally-charged Sunday night which marked the 35th anniversary of the Karaiskaki Stadium disaster.

Both teams honoured the memory of the 21 fans who lost their lives in what remains Greece’s biggest sporting tragedy by laying wreaths and flowers ahead of kick-off during a brief memorial service in front of the Gate 7 area of the stadium.

Twenty Olympiakos fans and one AEK Athens supporter were crushed to death while rushing out of Gate 7 to celebrate Olympiakos's 6-0 win over AEK on February 8, 1981.

Once the match started, Olympiakos continued their march to a 43rd league title thanks to a goal by right back Elabdellaoui, the 24-year-old Norwegian dispossessing midfielder Vitor before stroking home a precise shot after eight minutes.

The win, coupled with defeats for second-placed AEK Athens, who lost 1-0 at Atromitos, and Panathinaikos, who went down 1-0 at home to Xanthi on Saturday, means Marco Silva’s Olympiakos side stretched their lead to 19 points.

The Greens are third a further four points adrift, while PAOK remain in fourth spot, four more points behind.

Gus Poyet’s AEK were undone by Brazilian Luiz Brito’s 53rd-minute strike for Atromitos, although ugly clashes between small groups of fans after the final whistle overshadowed the match.

One Atromitos fan was admitted to hospital after suffering a stab wound but was not seriously injured, police said.

With Greek football continuing to be plagued by crowd violence, Atromitos owner Giorgos Spanos said:

“Certainly this should not happen, but unfortunately when there is an explosion of social problems throughout the state, people know that in football it's easy to cause trouble so these unorthodox people are finding a place to create such incidents.”

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Source: REUTERS
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