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Napoli, Inter keep pressure on Juventus

Milan (AFP) – Marek Hamsik moved closer to Diego Maradona’s scoring record as Napoli stayed top of Serie A with a 3-0 win over Cagliari on Sunday as Inter Milan pulled ahead of Juventus with a 2-1 win at Benevento.

The pressure will now be on Juventus, who travel to Atalanta later on Sunday, with the champions looking to match Napoli’s unblemished seven wins in as many games.

Skipper Hamsik opened the scoring for Napoli after just four minutes at the Stadio San Paolo with his first goal of the season and 114th for the club, just one short of Maradona’s all-time record.

Dries Mertens contributed to the opener and then added a second from the spot on 40 minutes before Kalidou Koulibaly sealed the perfect seventh victory two minutes after the break.

“Scoring is always great, I’m near Maradona’s record, now we know it will come, but what matters is the team’s performance. Seven wins from seven means a lot, and today we enjoyed the fans. October will be decisive,” said Slovak international Hamsik.

Napoli coach Maurizio Sarri conceded he was relieved after coming through the early afternoon match in a week when they earned their first Champions League points with a 3-1 win over Feyenoord.

But despite a record of 25 goals scored in seven games Sarri dismissed premature talk of challenging for the title.

“Its been six years that I’ve heard talk that we can bother Juventus but in the end they’re the ones who win,” said Sarri. “That means they are a level above everyone else.”

For Cagliari it was a fifth loss in seven games as they stay 14th with just six points.

Marcelo Brozovic scored a quick-fire first half brace as Inter moved provisionally second on 19 points after a tight win at tailenders Benevento.

Brozovic headed home an Antonio Candreva cross after 19 minutes with his second, a free kick, coming three minutes later.

Marco D’Alessandro got one back just before the break and missed a chance for an equaliser.

Lazio confirmed their push for Champions League football with a 6-1 hammering of Sassuolo to sit fourth.

Ciro Immobile scored his ninth goal of the campaign from the spot with Luis Alberto and Marco Parolo both hitting braces either side of a Stefan de Vrij header.

– Pressure on Montella –

Edin Dzeko and Alessandro Florenzi scored late for Roma, who are fifth with a game in hand, in a 2-0 win over AC Milan at the San Siro.

Dzeko broke the deadlock after 72 minutes with a deflected shot, Florenzi adding the second five minutes later for a fourth straight win for the Romans.

A second straight defeat for Milan left them sixth with the pressure now on coach Vincenzo Montella.

Torino, in seventh, were held to a disappointing 2-2 draw by ten-man Verona despite being two goals up until the 89th minute.

Torino striker Andrea Belotti picked up a knee injury and despite being reduced to ten late on when Bruno Zuculini was sent off, the visitors netted through Moise Kean before Giampaolo Pazzini equalised from the spot in injury time.

Simy grabbed a 1-1 away draw for Crotone at fellow strugglers SPAL after Alberto Paloschi opened for the hosts.

Ten-man Sampdoria fell to a first defeat of the season, a 4-0 rout at Udinese, who scored three goals from the spot on Saturday.

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