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Napoli draw puts Juventus coronation on hold

Milan (AFP) – Napoli drew 1-1 with ten-man Genoa on Sunday to ensure that Juventus will have to wait another week to seal an eighth consecutive Serie A title.

The champions have a 20-point advantage on second-placed Napoli, who they have beaten in both their head-to-head clashes, with seven games to go.

Juventus, who beat AC Milan 2-1 on Saturday, needed Napoli to lose to win the Scudetto for the 35th time, ahead of their Champions League quarter-final first leg against Ajax next week.

A draw next weekend at lowly SPAL would be enough for Massimiliano Allegri’s side to win the title which would be the first in Italy for Cristiano Ronaldo.

Despite their numerical advantage, Napoli struggled to contain the visitors who inflicted the only league defeat this season on Juventus last month.

Genoa went a man down when Stefano Sturaro was sent off on 28 minutes following a VAR review for a diving studs-up tackle on Allan.

Dries Mertens blasted in the opener on 34 minutes, but Darko Lazovic pulled Genoa level just before the break.

Genoa goalkeeper Ionut Radu ensured his 14th-placed side went away with a point with a string of fine saves including two late on from Mertens and Kalidou Koulibaly.

“It’s a wake-up call, if we play like this in London, then we’re in trouble,” said Napoli coach Carlo Ancelotti ahead of next week’s Europa League game against Arsenal.

– Atalanta let Milan off hook –

Earlier, Atalanta missed the chance to move fourth and into the Champions League berths at the expense of AC Milan with a 0-0 draw against Inter Milan at the San Siro.

Inter are third on 57 points — a massive 27 points behind Juventus — with Milan five points adrift of their city rivals.

Bergamo side Atalanta are level on points with Milan but behind in fifth on goal difference.

Mauro Icardi returned to the San Siro for the first time since a defeat by Bologna on February 3, and was greeted with a mixture of whistles and cheers from the home crowd.

The Argentina striker had scored on his return at Genoa last weekend following six weeks out after being stripped of the captaincy over a contract dispute.

Teammate Matias Vecino thought he had scored minutes into the game but the goal was disallowed for offside, with Icardi also denied early.

Atalanta were without suspended Colombian striker Duvan Zapata, who has scored 20 times this season.

The visitors’ best chance came in the 48th minute when Alejandro Gomez failed to connect with a great Josip Ilicic cross in front of goal.

Lazio were held 2-2 at home against Sassuolo and sit seventh, three points off the top four, but with a game in hand.

Senad Lulic grabbed a point for Lazio five minutes into injury time to rescue a draw after their midweek defeat by lowly SPAL.

In Florence, substitute Daniel Ciofani grabbed a late win for second-from-bottom Frosinone to crush Fiorentina’s Europa League hopes.

Ciofani fired in the winner six minutes from time to gave the promoted team consecutive wins for the first time.

Fiorentina drop to 12 points off the Europa League berths, with coach Stefano Pioli’s position at risk.

Claudio Ranieri’s Roma, meanwhile, are back in the Europa League places after a 1-0 win over Sampdoria on Saturday and are now just a point off the Champions League spots.

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