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Napoli rout piles pressure on Roma before Juve showdown

Milan (AFP) – Spaniard Jose Callejon hit a brace as Napoli crushed Torino 5-0 to pile the pressure on Roma ahead of their potential Serie A title-decider with Juventus later Sunday.

Juventus, now five points ahead of Napoli in second, require just a draw at the Stadio Olimpico to secure a record sixth consecutive league title with two games remaining.

Napoli boosted their chances of claiming the league’s second automatic Champions League qualifying spot with another of the fine displays that have come to characterise their campaign.

Maurizio Sarri’s men are now two points ahead of Roma, in third, but the Napoli coach said he doesn’t care about what happens in the capital Sunday evening.

“I’d rather take my dog for a walk,” said Sarri, who, amid reports of a feud with club owner Aurelio De Laurentiis, dropped another hint he could quit the club.

“I will go to China sooner or later,” he added.

Still smarting from a controversial 1-1 draw at Juventus last time out, Torino’s hopes were dented after just seven minutes in when Callejon collected Allan’s through ball to beat England goalkeeper Joe Hart with an angled drive. 

Napoli dominated throughout but had to wait until after the interval to find the net again.

When Lorenzo Insigne beat Hart on the hour — the Italy winger calmly side-footing the ball home after an unselfish pass from Dries Mertens — it opened the floodgates.

Belgium midfielder Mertens first stung Hart’s gloves after a one-two with Callejon, but finally beat the England man with a low drive in the 72nd minute after surging down the left flank.

Four minutes later, Callejon arrived at the back post to meet Faouzi Ghoulam’s cross to fire past Hart and complete his brace.

Callejon turned provider two minutes later with a volleyed assist for Piotr Zielinski to fire past Hart from 12 yards and complete the rout.

– ‘We didn’t stop playing’ –

If Juventus claim at least a point at Roma, Massimiliano Allegri’s men will secure the first part of an ambitious treble.

They face Lazio in the Italian Cup final on Wednesday and then Real Madrid in the Champions League final in Cardiff on June 3.

The last Italian team to achieve the feat was Inter Milan, but seven years on from an historic treble under Jose Mourinho, the Nerazzurri have hit a new low.

A 2-1 defeat to Sassuolo, who had Pierto Iemmello to thank for a brace either side of half-time, was Inter’s sixth defeat amid an eight-game winless streak.

Even before the half hour, supporters in the Curva Nord which houses the club’s ‘ultra’ fans walked out after hanging a series of angry banners aimed at Inter’s underperforming players.

The result left Inter, who sacked coach Stefano Pioli last week, in eighth, four points begind city rivals AC Milan and a Europa League qualifying place. 

Inter striker Eder netted a late consolation but rejected suggestions the players downed tools.

“We didn’t stop playing,” he said, amid accusations the players deliberately sabotaged the end of their season to avoid having to play the preliminary stages of the Europa League.

“Maybe we saw our objectives slip away and took our foot off the pedal. We’re all in the same boat, we’re all at fault.”

Elsewhere, relegation-haunted Crotone grabbed a lifeline thanks to a 1-0 win at home to Udinese that saw the Calabrians close to within one point of Empoli following their 3-2 defeat at Cagliari. 

Palermo, 1-0 winners at home to Genoa, and Pescara — who lost 3-1 at Bologna — are already relegated.

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