A week after its reincarnation, the Serie A title race is over again

Dries Mertens, left, and Lorenzo Insigne react during Napoli’s crushing loss to Fiorentina. (AP)
Dries Mertens, left, and Lorenzo Insigne react during Napoli’s crushing loss to Fiorentina. (AP)

One week after Napoli breathed renewed life into Serie A’s title race, and one day after Juventus very nearly tumbled off its Italian soccer throne, that title race petered out right into Juve’s lap.

Napoli followed up its dramatic 1-0 win over the six-time defending champs with a deflating 3-0 loss at Fiorentina. It left the gap at the top of the table at four points with three matches to play. There would seem to be no way back for the challengers. There would seem to be a seventh consecutive Scudetto en route to Turin.

Napoli had to win to keep pace with the league-leaders, who stunned Inter Milan with two late goals on Saturday to maintain control. But Kalidou Koulibaly’s sixth-minute red card ruined the afternoon. With 10 men, and in need of not just a result but a win, Napoli’s title challenge unravelled.

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Juve still must go to Roma. But its other two matches are at home against Bologna and Verona. Given its superior goal differential, all it needs is five points from those three games. And it should get them. So seven days after Serie A’s title race sprung back into life, it is all but over once again.

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Henry Bushnell covers global soccer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Question? Comment? Email him at henrydbushnell@gmail.com, or follow him on Twitter @HenryBushnell, and on Facebook.

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