Napoli can keep dreaming of Scudetto, says Higuain

Photo credit: AFP

Photo credit: AFP

Napoli can keep on dreaming of a first scudetto in more than a quarter of a century, said striker Gonzalo Higuain after taking his Serie A goal tally to 29 in 30 games with a brace in a 3-1 win over Genoa on Sunday.

Napoli, chasing a first Serie A title since the heady days of Diego Maradona in 1990, had slipped to six points off the pace after Juventus cruised to a 4-1 derby win at Torino.

But despite conceding a 10th minute opener to Tomas Rincon and going on to spurn a series of chances before Higuain leveled on 51 minutes, the hosts went on to dominate a lively finale with Higuain hitting his second on 81 minutes and late substitute Omar El Kaddouri breaking his Serie A duck at the death.

Despite Maurizio Sarri’s men keeping pace with Juventus as the Turin giants chase their own dream of winning a fifth consecutive title for the first time since 1935, title talk has been frowned upon for most of this season at Napoli.

SEE MORE: Schedule of Serie A games on US TV and live streaming

Higuain admits the Azzurri still have “eight finals” to play in the run-in, but he told Sky Sport: “It was a really difficult game for us, but these are three really important points. Now, we can keep on dreaming.”

He added: “But we have eight finals ahead of us and we have to give it everything if we are to try and make it happen.”

Genoa remained a threat after Higuain’s leveler, but Higuain twice came agonizingly close before putting the hosts ahead near the end, sending the stadium into raptures when he collected from Marek Hamsik again just inside the area to curl the ball around several players and inside Mattia Perin’s far post.

The Argentine’s 29th goal of the campaign now leaves him just six behind Gunnar Nordahl’s record of 35 goals in a 20-team championship, set with AC Milan in 1950.

But with scudetto talk banned at Napoli, Higuain is also keen not to jinx his own chance of making Serie A history.

“Scoring is my job and I work for the city and for this team,” added Higuain.

Napoli should have added more in a lively finale, but Manolo Gabbiadini toe-poked Hamsik’s long ball from midfield just over on the volley.

Higuain made way for El Kaddouri in the closing minutes and the Moroccan hit Napoli’s third in the first minute of added time.

Napoli remain second behind Juventus after the champions comfortably beat Torino 4-1 away in the Turin derby.

It was the champions’ 20th consecutive game unbeaten in a run that includes 19 wins and a draw and Napoli coach Sarri was quick to brush off questions about their chances of closing the gap: “I don’t know if we can catch them and it doesn’t interest me much.

“We’re taking it game by game, winning and making our fans happy. Above us sits a team that have just collected 58 out of a possible 60 points.

“We’re just three points behind them, and that makes me happy.”

At the Stadio Olimpico, Juve goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon became the record holder for the longest unbeaten run in Serie A with a new total of 973 minutes.

He overtook Juve legend Dino Zoff (903) last week and surpassed record-holder Sebastiono Rossi’s 929-minute tally four minutes into the game.

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