» Sports » Football Extras: Insigne rescues Napoli from defeat at Sassuolo

Football Extras: Insigne rescues Napoli from defeat at Sassuolo

March 11, 2019 10:07 IST
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Lorenzo Insigne scores the equaliser against Sassuolo in their Serie A match on Sunday

IMAGE: Lorenzo Insigne scores the equaliser against Sassuolo in their Serie A match on Sunday. Photograph: Twitter

A late Lorenzo Insigne goal rescued a 1-1 draw for second-placed Napoli at Sassuolo in Serie A on Sunday but it was not enough to stop them losing further ground on runaway leaders Juventus.

Juve finished the weekend with an 18-point lead following a 4-1 home win over Udinese on Friday and with 11 games to play are 15 points from clinching their eighth successive title.


Napoli, involved in the Europa League round of 16, rested a number of players and also had goalkeeper Alex Meret suspended.

Sassuolo went ahead seven minutes after halftime when Domenico Berardi turned in Jeremie Boga's pass from close range.

Napoli appeared to be heading for a fifth league defeat of the season until Insigne pounced on a mistake in the Sassuolo defence and curled the ball in with four minutes left.

Unbeaten Juventus, who have won 24 of their 27 games and drawn three, have 75 points with Napoli on 57.

Inter beats Spal 2-0 to stay close to Milan ahead of derby

Matteo Politano and Roberto Gagliardini scored in the second half on Sunday to help Inter Milan beat relegation-threatened Spal 2-0 in their Serie A match.

Inter had earlier seen a goal ruled out on video review and penalty appeals waved away, while Marcelo Brozovic and Joao Miranda went off injured.

The Nerazzurri remained fourth, a point behind AC Milan. The top four from Serie A qualify for the Champions League next season.

Fifth-placed Roma is six points behind and hosts Empoli on Monday.

"It was important to get back to winning ways, there wasn't much space but we found the goals in the end," Inter midfielder Joao Mario told AFP.

"We did well today, the prospect of overtaking Milan by winning the derby needs to spur us on."

Inter was still without Mauro Icardi, who has not played since being stripped off his captaincy amid protracted contract negotiations. Icardi has said he has a knee injury.

"I'm not going to talk anymore about Icardi, whatever I say becomes taken in a different way," Inter coach Luciano Spalletti said.

"Will he play in the derby? I'm not going to respond to questions about Icardi, otherwise we won't talk about football."

Atalanta's Gasperini denies slapping Sampdoria official

Atalanta coach Gian Piero Gasperini denied slapping an official from opponents Sampdoria in the tunnel after he was sent off during his side's 2-1 win in Serie A on Sunday.

A livid Gasperini, ordered from the touchline at Sampdoria's Luigi Ferraris stadium for protesting about a penalty awarded to the home side, reported afterwards that, as he walked down the tunnel, Sampdoria club secretary Massimo Ienca was in his way.

"I know Ienca well, he was in front of me and blocking the passageway. I just nudged him aside," Gasperini told the post-match press conference.

"That is what happened -- the rest is just a big song and dance."

However, Sampdoria gave a different version. "There was no song or dance or provocation," said club director Antonio Romei.

"There are witnesses who told me it was a slap. The federation will do its job."

Duvan Zapata gave Atalanta the lead five minutes after halftime with his 17th goal of the season before Sampdoria were awarded the penalty in the 67th minute when Gaston Ramirez went down under a challenge from Alejandro Gomez.

It seemed a soft penalty and Gasperini was incensed that the referee did not review it on the pitchside monitor.

Fabio Quagliarella converted for his 20th goal of the season, making him Serie A's leading scorer, but Atalanta took the points when Robin Gosens turned the ball in from a narrow angle in the 77th minute.

The win kept Atalanta seventh on 44 points, six adrift of the Champions League places.

"We need to keep a very close eye on some episodes in the zone around the Champions League places because, with the race so close, they could make a great difference," said Gasperini.

Torino also moved on to 44 points in sixth place after two second-half goals from Andrea Belotti gave them a 2-1 win at next-to-bottom Frosinone.

Manchester United's Young wants more player protection after pitch invasion

Manchester United's Ashley Young has called for greater protection for players after his team's 2-0 Premier League defeat at Arsenal was disrupted by a fan running on to the pitch and shoving his team mate Chris Smalling.

The incident was one of several involving rogue fans over the weekend, with pitch invasions occurring in the Scottish Premiership, the English Championship (second-tier) as well as the Premier League.

A fan confronted Rangers captain James Tavernier in their 1-1 draw with Hibernian in Scotland on Friday, while Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish was punched in the face by a fan during Sunday's 1-0 win at derby rivals BirminghamCity.

"That's the third time a fan has managed to get on the pitch (this weekend)," Young told reporters.

"What if they are carrying something? The players will be in danger.

"It's definitely something the FA, the Premier League and FIFA have got to do something about. I don't know if it's extra stewarding or what but it's a concern with the one earlier today and the one on Chrissy. Something has got to be done."

The supporter who invaded the pitch at Arsenal and the fan who punched Grealish were both arrested by police.

Arsenal manager Unai Emery condemned the incident at the Emirates Stadium, while Arsenal issued an apology to Smalling and United.

"I don't want that," Emery said when asked about the pitch invasion.

"It's not in my control. I think we can enjoy the support, today I think they helped us but we need to do it with respect."

The victory saw Arsenal go above United and occupy fourth place in the table.

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