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TURIN: Juventus’ Serbian forward #09 Dusan Vlahovic ( c ) fights for the ball with Fiorentina’s Czech midfielder #72 Antonin Barak during the Italian Serie A football match between Juventus and Fiorentina, at The Allianz Stadium, in Turin. – AFP
TURIN: Juventus’ Serbian forward #09 Dusan Vlahovic ( c ) fights for the ball with Fiorentina’s Czech midfielder #72 Antonin Barak during the Italian Serie A football match between Juventus and Fiorentina, at The Allianz Stadium, in Turin. – AFP
Juventus scrape past Fiorentina, Napoli win with stunners at Monza
Bologna aiming to reach modern Champions League for the first time

MILAN: Juventus consolidated third place in Serie A with Sunday’s hard-fought 1-0 win over Fiorentina while a trio of fantastic goals helped Napoli to a thrilling 4-2 win at Monza. Federico Gatti prodded home the only goal of the game in the 21st minute at the Allianz Stadium in Turin, the Italy defender in the right place at the right time after Gleison Bremer’s header came back out off the post.

“Yeah we tried that one in training this morning... You need a bit of luck every now and again,” joked Gatti about his goal. Gatti’s goal pushed Juve four points ahead of Bologna who stayed fourth following their goalless draw at relegation-threatened Frosinone in the day’s first kick-off.

Bologna are aiming to reach the modern Champions League for the first time—they played one round in the old European Cup in 1964 -- and are a good bet to do so thanks to eight wins from their last 10 matches. Juve had picked up just seven points from their previous nine league fixtures, but Sunday’s win came days after comfortably beating Lazio in the first leg of their Italian Cup semi-final.

“It’s a really big win, we came into the game off the back of two really difficult months,” said Gatti. “We’ve got a month and a half left where we have a lot to play for.” It wasn’t an easy three points however as Juve had three goals chalked off for offside, including a tap-in from former Fiorentina man Dusan Vlahovic, in the opening 45 minutes before sitting on their slender lead for almost the entire second half.

In the end, Juve had Wojciech Szczesny to thank for the win as the Poland goalkeeper tipped Nicolas Gonzalez’s curling strike onto the crossbar with a magnificent save in the 74th minute. Fiorentina, who dominated the second half without finding the breakthrough, stay 10th after failing to win for a fourth consecutive league match.

Napoli entertain

Trailing at half-time to Milan Djuric’s early header and loudly barracked by protesting away fans, champions Napoli roared back to win at Monza following sumptuous strikes from Victor Osimhen, Matteo Politano and Piotr Zielinski in six second-half minutes.

Andrea Colpani’s deflected shot closed the gap to one, seconds after Zielinski’s first goal since October, but Giacomo Raspadori added the fourth in the 69th minute to ensure Napoli went seventh. “Today we showed our true worth, but we need to understand that we’re a good team and always play like the first 15 minutes of the second half because this year we’ve been too inconsistent... We’re a good team and today we showed it,” said Politano.

“We all need to try and give something extra, because we have seven games left and we can still get a lot of points.” Francesco Calzona’s side will hand over their league title, almost certainly to Inter Milan, at the end of the season and are 10 points behind Bologna who currently sit in the last Champions League spot.

However, Serie A is leading the race for an extra berth in next year’s revamped tournament, meaning fifth could be good enough. Roma are three points behind Bologna in fifth after beating local rivals Lazio 1-0 for the first time in over two years on Saturday.

Two points ahead of Napoli, in sixth, are Atalanta who fell to a surprise 2-1 defeat at Cagliari but have a game in hand, against Fiorentina. Frosinone, who won Serie B last season, are a point behind Verona who sit just outside the relegation zone after losing 2-1 to mid-table Genoa. – AFP

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