Napoli back on top
MILAN, Italy (AP):
Napoli moved back to the top of Serie A with a 1-0 win at Udinese yesterday but it was tougher than the title hopefuls would have expected.
Jorginho scored the only goal of the match after his penalty had been saved to send Napoli two points above Inter Milan, which won 3-1 at Cagliari on Saturday.
"Today we didn't do very well in terms of quality and moving the ball around, but the Udinese pitch didn't help us," Napoli coach Maurizio Sarri said.
"But in past years we would have had more difficulty in such matches."
Title rivals Roma were surprisingly held 1-1 at relegation-threatened Genoa in a match that saw Daniele De Rossi sent off.
Third-place Juventus hosts Crotone later and will be looking to cut the gap to Napoli back to four points ahead of their meeting on Friday.
"It will be an important match ... we will give everything but I think it's over the top to think it will be decisive for the standings in seven months."
Napoli had scored 34 goals in their previous 13 matches but struggled to create goalscoring opportunities.
However, their pressure paid off shortly after the half-hour mark when Christian Maggio was brought down by Gabriele Angella in the area.
Jorginho's weak penalty was easily saved by Simone Scuffet but the Udinese goalkeeper couldn't hold onto the ball and the Italy midfielder tucked away the rebound.
Udinese tested Napoli goalkeeper Pepe Reina on a couple of occasions but Massimo Oddo's debut ended in defeat. The 41-year-old coach had replaced the fired Luigi Delneri on Tuesday.
AC Milan faltered again as they were held to a 0-0 draw at home to Torino, piling more pressure on coach Vincenzo Montella.
Milan, which spent almost US$250 million on new players in the offseason, have won just two of their past nine matches.
Nikola Kalinic hit the post early on while both Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma and his Torino counterpart Salvatore Sirigu pulled off stunning saves.
Kalinic had a couple of efforts saved and wasted other opportunities.