Serie A: Matchday 18 round-up

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Juventus continued their quest for a fourth consecutive Scudetto with a convincing 3-1 victory over Napoli at the Stadio San Paolo in the standout fixture of the weekend’s latest Serie A action.

The game will be remembered for Paul Pogba’s marvellous opener and Arturo Vidal’s stunning finish that put the game to bed late on. The Frenchman struck with an exquisite volley, whilst his teammate rifled home in stoppage time after Rafael Benitez’s men had gone in hunt of an equaliser.

They had equalised earlier through Jose Callejon, but Martin Caceres headed the Old Lady back into a lead they failed to relinquish, in what was the current champion’s first win in Naples for 15 years.

Dropped points

Juventus’ victory was crucial after a Rome derby that finished with honours even. Stefano Mauri and Felipe Anderson gave Lazio a two-goal cushion, but a second-half brace from the evergreen Francesco Totti.

The Italian continues to defy his age and celebrated becoming the joint-top scorer in the history of the capital derby by taking a selfie on a phone given to him by one of the club’s coaching staff. His form is making Rudi Garcia’s men continue to dream about a first league title since 2001.

Elsewhere, and Roberto Mancini registered a first home victory of his second spell at the club with a 3-1 victory over Genoa, in a game that also saw Nemanja Vidic score his first goal for the Nerazzurri since his summer move from Manchester United.

Rodrigo Palacio and Mauro Icardi were also amongst the scorers, despite Armando Izzo giving the visitor’s hope of an unlikely point.

Fiorentina emerged from a high-scoring battle with Palermo with a crucial 4-3 victory that sees them continue their unbeaten run.

Manuel Pasqual and Jose Maria Basanta gave the hosts’ a two-goal cushion, but a brace from substitute Robin Quaison levelled the scores to have Vincenzo Montella’s side firmly on the back foot.

However, Juan Cuadrado and Joaquin struck to spare their blushes, and despite Andrea Belotti scoring a late third for the visitors from the penalty spot La Viola hung on to jump to sixth in the Serie A table.

Sampdoria also saw off a spirited Empoli courtesy of a second-half goal from Eder.

Relegation dogfight

Basement side Cesena saw their hopes of staying in the division take a further knock with a defeat away at Cagliari, with Gianfranco Zola celebrating his first victory since succeeding Zdenek Zeman last month.

Joan Pedro and Godfred Donsah gave the Sardinian side the advantage, with Franco Brienza forcing a frantic finish that ultimately ended in yet another defeat.

Parma sunk further into the relegation dogfight with a lacklustre display in a 3-1 defeat away at Verona, despite being on course for a point going into the final 20 minutes of the contest.

Francesco Lodi had cancelled out an earlier strike from Jacopo Sala, but Luca Toni and Mattia Valoti struck late to give the home side a fifth league win of the season.

Davide Zappacosta’s goal looked to have boosted Atalanta’s own chances of survival, but substitute Dejan Lazarevic denied them victory and gave Chievo a crucial boost of their own.

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Inter Milan
Serie A

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