x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Napoli move in behind Juventus and Milan in Champions League quest

European round-up: In Spain Villarreal and Granada's good run continues

Napoli boosted their chances of qualifying for their second successive Champions League campaign with a comfortable 2-0 win over travel-shy Palermo on Tuesday.

Walter Mazzarri's side needed only 35 minutes to effectively wrap up the match against a team with one of the worst Serie A away records as Edinson Cavani, with a penalty, and Marek Hamsik scored.

Napoli, in third place which would earn them a place in the Champions League qualifying round, have 58 points, three more than Udinese, Inter Milan and Lazio who all play on Wednesday.

They have a fairly straightforward final two games against mid-table pair Bologna and Siena while Inter visit Lazio on the last day of the season and also face neighbours AC Milan.

AS Roma's hopes of Champions League football next season suffered another blow when they were held to a goalless draw on a rain-sodden pitch at Chievo in Tuesday's other game.

Leaders Juventus (77 points), who host Lecce on Wednesday, and second-placed AC Milan (74), at home to Atalanta the same night, have already made sure of Italy's two direct places in the Champions League group stage.


Primera Liga

Villarreal and Granada moved closer to ensuring their top status in the Spanish league next season with victories.

Villarreal ended a three-game winless run with a 3-2 victory at Sporting Gijon, which is still fighting relegation and seven points behind its opponent with two rounds to play.

Granada is one point ahead of Villarreal after beating Espanyol 2-1. That means Sporting needs to pass Rayo Vallecano, which is at Mallorca on Wednesday, to stay up. Zaragoza also needs to beat Levante on Wednesday to maintain its slim chances of staying up.

Rayo Vallecano is six points head of Zaragoza and Sporting.