Napoli's title hopes reignited; Icardi scores 4 in Serie A

ANDREW DAMPF (AP Sports Writer)
The Associated Press

ROME (AP) -- A second-half header from Raul Albiol earned Napoli a 1-0 win over Genoa on Sunday and reignited the southern club's title hopes.

Napoli moved within two points of Serie A leader Juventus, which was held to a 0-0 draw at relegation-threatened Spal a day earlier.

In the 72nd minute, Albiol deflected in a corner by the near post with his back to the goal.

It was the center back's first goal in 65 games and it helped Napoli end a two-match winless streak in which it surrendered the league lead.

Napoli also hit the post twice, first with a header from Lorenzo Insigne and then a shot from Dries Mertens.

Napoli is chasing its first Serie A title since Diego Maradona led the club to its only two championships in 1987 and 1990.

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ICARDI'S CENTURY

Mauri Icardi passed two century marks in style, scoring four goals in Inter Milan's 5-0 win at Sampdoria.

Ending the day with 103 goals in his Italian league career, the 25-year-old Icardi became the sixth-youngest player in Serie A history to score 100 or more.

The players ahead of Icardi on the list are: Giuseppe Meazza, Silvio Piola, Giampiero Boniperti, Felice Borel and Jose Altafini.

Icardi also reached 100 goals for his Inter Milan career across 172 appearances in all competitions.

The latest impressive performance came against Icardi's former team, which always seems to bring the best out in him, such as his brace in Inter's 3-2 win in October.

''I'm happy to reach this milestone but I didn't expect it. I thought I could score one or two at the most but not four,'' Icardi said. ''I scored my first Serie A goal in this stadium... Clearly it was in my destiny to reach 103 at Marassi.''

Ivan Perisic put Inter ahead with a lobbed header 26 minutes in for his first goal since early December before Icardi took over.

Three minutes later, Icardi converted a penalty following a foul on Rafinha to reach the century mark.

The Argentina striker then fooled goalkeeper Emiliano Viviano and defender Gian Marco Ferrari with a splendid backheel goal.

Icardi completed a hat trick by knocking in a rebound of a shot from Rafinha, then scored with a high bouncing shot shortly after the break.

Inter moved into fourth place, one point ahead of Lazio, which drew 1-1 with Bologna.

''We needed a match like this after a game full of sacrifice against Napoli,'' Icardi said, referring to a 0-0 draw with Napoli last weekend. ''Today we needed to be like Napoli and we had the right approach from the first minute and the result shows that.''

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10 FOR MILAN

AC Milan stretched its unbeaten run to 10 matches with a 3-2 comeback win over Chievo Verona courtesy of Andre Silva's late winner.

Silva scored his second of the season when a corner bounced off Chievo defender Pawel Jaroszynski and into his path for an easy goal from close range.

Hakan Calhanoglu was left unmarked by the far post to give Milan an early lead but Emanuele Giaccherini set up Mariusz Stepinski's equalizer.

Roberto Inglese put Chievo ahead with a spectacular blast into the top right corner.

Patrick Cutrone equalized for Milan by turning in a rebound of a shot from Lucas Biglia.

Milan was also awarded a penalty after Silva's goal but Franck Kessie's spot kick was stopped by Chievo goalkeeper Stefano Sorrentino.

Up next for the Rossoneri after the international break: a visit to Juventus followed by the Milan derby.

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OTHER MATCHES:

Third-place Roma won 2-0 at Crotone with goals from Stephan El Shaarawy and Radja Nainggolan either side of halftime.

In Rome, Bologna's Simone Verdi and Lazio's Lucas Leiva traded early goals.

A 2-1 victory at Torino for Fiorentina made it two wins in two matches for the Tuscan club since the sudden death of club captain Davide Astori. Fiorentina forward Cyril Thereau pointed his fingers to the sky in honor of Astori after converting a decisive penalty kick in stoppage time.

Jordan Veretout had scored Fiorentina's opener before a late equalizer from Andrea Belotti.

Meanwhile, Josip Ilicic had a hat trick and Bryan Cristante and Alejandro ''Papu Gomez also scored as Atalanta routed Hellas Verona 5-0.

Also, Cagliari won 2-1 at Benevento thanks to a stoppage-time penalty from Nicolo Barella.

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More AP Serie A coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/SerieA

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Andrew Dampf on Twitter: www.twitter.com/asdampf

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