x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

European football round-up: Napoli and Inter keep Serie A title chase alive

Marseille claimed a 2-1 win over Brest to keep up pressure on Ligue 1 leader Lyon, while Real Betis continued their Primera Liga chase with a 3-2 victory over Deportivo La Coruna.

Inter celebrate as Palermo score an own goal in their Serie A clash.
Inter celebrate as Palermo score an own goal in their Serie A clash.

ITALY

Napoli and Inter Milan both kept up their pursuit of Juventus at the top of the Serie A table, but Fiorentina came up short.

Gokhan Inler and Edinson Cavani both grabbed a brace each with Marek Hamsik also on target as Walter Mazzarri's side tore Pescara to shreds in a 5-1 victory at the San Paolo.

Birkir Bjarnason reduced the arrears in the first half, but a red card for Antonio Bocchetti capped a day to forget for Cristiano Bergodi's men.

Gian Piero Gasperini was denied any joy on his return to Inter Milan as Santiago Garcia's own goal gifted the Nerazzurri an undeserved 1-0 victory.

Gasperini was unceremoniously sacked as Inter boss last season, but his revenge mission came undone when Palermo fullback Garcia put through his own net in the 74th minute.

Inter appeared lost without suspended striker Antonio Cassano and influential midfielder Wesley Sneijder, currently a peripheral figure at the San Siro due to a contract dispute.

Two goals from Stevan Savic were not enough to earn Fiorentina all three points as they were held to a 2-2 draw by Sampdoria.

Savic put Fiorentina ahead in a one-sided first half, but Nenad Krsticic levelled shortly after the break before a Gonzalo Rodriguez own-goal gave the visitors a surprise lead.

Savic equalised in the 75th minute but Vincenzo Montella's side were unable to find a winner, even if Samp did end the game with 10 men thanks to Shkodran Mustafi's late dismissal.

Miroslav Klose's 10th league goal of the season lifted Lazio into fourth place thanks to a 2-1 victory over Parma.

Giuseppe Biava's early goal put the Biancocelesti on the path to a Champions League place before Klose doubled the hosts' advantage just before the break. Parma's Ishak Belfodil halved the deficit by following up his own saved penalty.

Mattia Destro bagged a brace on his return to Stadio Artemio Franchi as Roma rallied from a goal down to defeat Siena 3-1.

Neto headed the Bianconeri in front, but Destro struck either side of a Simone Perrotta goal as Roma hit back for all the points after the break.

Udinese restored a little pride to their stuttering season with a 4-1 win over Cagliari.

Roberto Pereyra broke the deadlock before Gabriele Angella added a second and Danilo made it 3-0 in the second half. Giovanni Pasquale got the fourth to render Daniele Dessena's header little more than a consolation.

Alberto Paloschi heaped the pressure on Genoa coach Luigi Del Neri with his first ever Serie A hat-trick earning Chievo an impressive 4-2 win in Liguria.

All three of Paloschi's goals came in the first half with Ahmed Said's reply not saving the Rossoblu from a drone of whistles at the interval. Bosko Jankovic pulled a goal back but Adrian Stoian scored a fourth after Marco Andreolli saw red.

Elsewhere, Alessandro Diamanti and Manolo Gabbiadini earned Bologna all three points with a 2-1 win over Atalanta at the Stadio Dall'Ara, with German Denis scoring for the visitors.

 

FRANCE

Marseille earned an impressive result in north-west France today, beating Brest 2-1 to keep the pressure on Ligue 1 leaders Lyon.

Having been drubbed 4-1 by the team they are chasing in midweek, Elie Baup's men needed to show they had the qualities needed for a title fight today and they did just that at the Stade Francis-Le Ble.

As a result of the win, given to them by goals from Souleymane Diawara and Andre Ayew either side of a Charlison Benschop equaliser, they are two points behind Lyon at the top of the table.

Jonathan Pitriopa's late goal sealed a comeback victory for Rennes that denied 10-man Troyes a second win of the Ligue 1 season.

Estac enjoyed the rare luxury of watching their Breton opponents chase the game for close to an hour, with Stephane Darbion doubling their advantage after Benjamin Nivet headed the opener.

But Rennes pulled a goal back through Romain Alessandrini just after the break and Troyes soon wobbled, Julien Feret drawing the visitors level with an unstoppable drive nine minutes from time.

A point was within the hosts' grasp but they let it slip away at the death, Pitriopa breaking hearts at the Stade de l'Aube with a goal before Corentin Jean's unnecessary dismissal soon after his arrival as an 80th-minute substitute.

A goal on the stroke of half-time saw Lorient beat Toulouse 1-0.

Benjamin Corgnet was the matchwinner, sweeping home Jeremie Aliadiere's cross for the mid-table hosts.

 

SPAIN

Real Betis moved clear in fourth place in the Primera Division table as Joel Campbell's wonder goal 14 minutes from time secured a 3-2 victory over Deportivo La Coruna in a highly entertaining game at La Riazor.

Two fine finishes either side of half-time from Ruben Castro had put the visitors in a strong position but Riki pulled a goal back almost immediately before levelling with a neat volley on the hour mark.

Both sides then went in search of the winner but it was Betis who got it as Campbell cut inside onto his left foot and curled a brilliant shot into the top corner from 25 yards.

Victor Casadesus made up for his first-half penalty miss with an 86th-minute goal that gave Real Mallorca a 1-1 draw against 10-man Real Zaragoza.

The match exploded into life in the 13th minute when the islanders were awarded a spot-kick after Emilio Nsue was hauled down by Glenn Loovens, who picked up his second booking, although Victor saw his effort from 12 yards parried to safety by Zaragoza keeper Roberto Jimenez.

In a stunning twist, the visitors then took a shock lead in the 16th minute after Helder Postiga profited from loose defending and it seemed they would hang on after Mallorca missed several gilt edged chances to level matters after the interval.

But Victor atoned for his miss by powerfully heading into the net late on to rescue a point for the hosts.

Levante also needed a late goal to claim a 1-1 draw at Celta Vigo, who failed to make their dominance count at Estadio de Balaidos.

Enrique De Lucas got the benefit of a marginal offside call to put his side ahead in the first half, yet despite dominating possession after break the home side could not add to their tally.

Levante made them pay late on as Roger popped up to turn the ball home from close range after fellow substitute Michel had volleyed across the face of goal.

Both Granada and Espanyol remain in the Primera Division's bottom three after neither side managed to find the breakthrough at Nuevo Los Carmenes.

The hosts had most of the possession and pressure but it was Espanyol - led for the first time by new coach Javier Aguirre - who had the better opportunities in each half.

Tono made a brilliant save in the Granada goal to deny Christian Stuani the opener moments before half-time, while Raul Baena fired over with the goalkeeper out of position and the goal at his mercy just after the hour mark.

A point for either side means that Espanyol remain rooted to the foot of the table on 10 points with Granada two points and two places better off.

 

GERMANY

Marko Arnautovic smashed a hat-trick as Werder Bremen eased to an impressive 4-1 win at Hoffenheim in the Bundesliga this afternoon.

Sebastian Prodl gave Bremen the lead after 21 minutes before Arnautovic tucked away his first goal just before the half-hour.

Sejad Salihovic reduced the deficit five minutes after the break but Arnautovic struck again in the 73rd minute before completing his treble 11 minutes from time.

The win moves Bremen into eighth place - two points shy of a Europa League spot - with Hoffenheim down in 16th after a fourth straight defeat.

In the day's other match, Wolfsburg and Hamburg shared a 1-1 draw.

Maximilian Beister gave Hamburg the lead in the 26th minute before Simon Kjaer equalised in the 69th minute.

The stalemate leaves Hamburg in ninth place while Wolfsburg, winless in their last three, are 15th.

 

HOLLAND

Vitesse Arnhem responded to FC Twente`s win by beating Roda JC 3-0 to make it all-square again at the top of the Eredivisie.

Brazilian striker Jonathan Ries scored twice, taking his tally for the season to nine in the 42nd and 62nd minutes.

Marco van Ginkel had put them ahead in the 10th minute.

In Nijmegen, NAC Breda secured a point from a 1-1 draw with NEC that helps their plight at the bottom of the table, but they headed home wondering what might have been.

Veteran striker Anthony Lurling put them ahead six minutes after the break at the McDOS Goffertstadion, and they looked set for a maximum return which would have put four points between them and the bottom.

But Melvin Platje had other ideas, scoring an 81st-minute equaliser for Alex Pastoor`s men which keeps them in and around the upper echelons of mid-table.

NEC are on 23 points, two behind FC Utrecht, who enjoyed a 2-1 home win over AZ Alkmaar at Stadion Galgenwaard to arrest a run of three games without success.

They too left it late, with Zambia international striker Jacob Mulenga scoring the decisive goal with seven minutes remaining.

Before that, they had taken the lead through half-time substitute Leon De Kogel, who made an immediate impact just three minutes after coming on.

Etienne Reijnen had levelled for AZ, who continue to flounder in the lower reaches of the table.

The day`s other game, another mid-table tussle, saw Groningen come out as 2-0 winners against Heracles at the Euroborg.

Michael de Leeuw continued to shine for the Pride of the North, scoring his eighth goal in 14 appearances this season in the 63rd minute, three minutes after Marko Vejinovik`s own goal had put them ahead.

The Holland Under-21 international defender did not have the best of afternoons, and was sent off for handball in the last minute.

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