Lazio second after eighth straight win, Napoli end crisis
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Lazio second after eighth straight win, Napoli end crisis

Fola Akintomide

Lazio thumped Empoli 4-0, their eighth successive league win, to go second in Serie A on Sunday and Napoli ended their dismal run with a 3-0 win over Fiorentina despite being denied a clear goal.

Hosts Lazio leap-frogged city rivals AS Roma, who were held to a controversial 1-1 draw at Torino as they failed to take advantage of leaders Juventus’ shock defeat at otherwise beleaguered bottom side Parma on Saturday. AC Milan were held 1-1 by Sampdoria as Nigel de Jong’s deflected overhead kick cancelled out a Roberto Soriano strike, but a 1-1 draw does little to help either team.

Relegation-threatened Atalanta, who had a training session interrupted by protesting fans on Saturday, beat Sassuolo 2-1 at home to ease their relegation worries with two goals from German Denis, an overhead kick and a penalty. Despite Saturday’s defeat, Juventus are 12 clear of Lazio and well on course for a fourth successive title.

Roma are a further point behind in third, which earns a place in the Champions League playoff round. Napoli president Aurelio Di Laurentiis had threatened to confine his players to a training camp for an “unlimited period” after their semi-final Coppa Italia elimination at home to Lazio on Wednesday, and his outburst seemed to work. Dries Mertens put Napoli ahead in the 23rd minute with a curling effort and they should have gone further in front just after half an hour when Gonzalo Higuain’s long-range shot crashed off the underside of the bar.

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