ROME (AP): Juventus beat Napoli 3-0 Sunday to move within two points of Serie A leader AC Milan and set up an enticing battle for the Italian league title with eight rounds remaining.
Leonardo Bonucci scored from the center of the area in the 53rd minute at the Juventus Stadium, Arturo Vidal found the target in the 75th with an impressive solo effort, and Fabio Quagliarella finished off a counterattack in the 83rd as Juventus dominated from start to finish in a preview of the Italian Cup final.
Napoli was reduced to 10 men for the final five minutes after Juan Zuniga was sent off for elbowing Giorgio Chiellini in the face.
Milan was held to a 1-1 draw at Catania on Sunday and faces a tough test at Barcelona in the Champions League quarterfinals on Tuesday, following a 0-0 draw in the first leg at the San Siro.
Juventus, which remained undefeated in all competitions this season, holds the tiebreaker over Milan, with a win and a draw head-to-head.
“Over the last two weeks we’ve solidly beaten Inter and Napoli, two squads that began the season ahead of us,” said Juventus’ first-year coach Antonio Conte, referring to last week’s 2-0 win over Inter Milan. “I keep thanking my players because they’re doing something beautiful and extraordinary.”
Earlier, new Inter Milan manager Andrea Stramaccioni had a successful debut as Diego Milito scored a hat trick and the Nerazzurri held on for a wild 5-4 win over Genoa in a match that both sides finished with 10 men.
The 36-year-old Stramaccioni was hired Monday after Claudio Ranieri was fired following a miserable streak of one win in Inter’s previous 10 league matches. A week ago, Stramaccioni led Inter’s youth squad to a win over Ajax in the inaugural NextGen Series final – a sort of Champions League for under-19 players.
“The important thing is that Inter won. Yes, it was a wild victory,”
Stramaccioni said. “I want to thank the entire group for giving their all to find success again. The merit is theirs. All I added was that little that I know to try and achieve this result.”
This victory moved Inter past Catania into seventh place, 20 points behind crosstown rival Milan.
Stramaccioni is Inter’s fifth manager since Jose Mourinho departed after leading the club to a treble in 2010, with Rafa Benitez, Leonardo, Gian Piero Gasperini and Ranieri each failing to fully satisfy president Massimo Moratti.
“Now we’ve got to go match by match without making any plans,” Stramaccioni said. “I’m just glad the president gave me this chance, which I didn’t deserve. Having his support gives us the serenity to do our jobs.”
Earlier, Roma routed relegation-bound Novara 5-2 to keep alive its chances of finishing third and taking the Champions League berth.
Roma is sixth, four points behind third-place and city rival Lazio, which lost 3-1 at Parma on Saturday.
Lazio has 51 points, Napoli and Udinese 48, Roma 47 and Inter 44.
Elsewhere Sunday, it was: Bologna 1, Palermo 3; Cagliari 2, Atalanta 0; Fiorentina 1, Chievo Verona 2; Lecce 0, Cesena 0; and Siena 1, Udinese 0.
In Turin, Andrea Pirlo was the danger man early on, but first Borriello and then Vidal couldn’t redirect his free kicks.
At the San Siro, Inter immediately took control with Milito heading in a cross from Diego Forlan in the 13th minute, and the Argentina forward found the target again after beating the offside trap in the 27th.
Inter’s center backs combined to score in the 38th, with Lucio providing a cross for Walter Samuel to redirect in from close range.
The 3-0 lead soon evaporated, however.
Genoa defender Emiliano Moretti deflected in an acrobatic effort from Giuseppe Sculli in first-half added time and Rodrigo Palacio converted a penalty for the visitors in the 59th after Inter’s 38-year-old captain Javier Zanetti put his arm in the way of a header from Sculli.
Mauro Zarate scored his first goal of the season for Inter with a solo effort in the 74th to make it 4-2, but then Inter goalkeeper Julio Cesar was sent off five minutes later for a last-man foul on Palacio, setting up the first of two penalties for Alberto Gilardino.
Newly signed Colombia midfielder Fredy Guarin also made his Inter debut – having joined from Porto in January with a muscle injury – and he drew a penalty that resulted in Genoa defender Giuseppe Belluschi being sent off in the 84th, setting up Milito’s third goal.
The third penalty of the match was awarded to Genoa in the 89th following a clear foul from Lucio, and Gilardino again converted the spot kick. Finally, after a few minutes of added time, Stramaccioni and Moratti – watching up in the tribune – could each let out a sigh of relief.
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