Juve overpower Napoli, close gap on leaders Roma
(Reuters) - Andrea Pirlo and Paul Pogba scored spectacular second-half goals to help titleholders Juventus beat Napoli 3-0 on Sunday, closing the gap on Serie A leaders AS Roma to one point and leaving their opponents trailing in third place.
Playmaker Pirlo fired a viciously dipping free kick over the Napoli wall from nearly 30 meters, then Pogba collected a pass, flicked the ball up and volleyed home from a similar distance beyond a bemused Pepe Reina six minutes later.
Roma, who won their first 10 games, were held to a second successive 1-1 draw after conceding a 94th minute equalizer at home to lowly Serie A newcomers Sassuolo.
Familiar routines continued at Fiorentina, where Giuseppe Rossi scored two more goals in a 2-1 win over troubled Sampdoria, and AC Milan, who remained in crisis mode after a goalless draw at bottom club Chievo.
Beset by their usual injury troubles and with boardroom disquiet reportedly brewing in the background, Milan fluffed several good chances as they extended their winless run to six games in all competitions.
Roma lead with 32 points from 12 games, with Juventus on 31 and Rafael Benitez's Napoli on 28 after their second league defeat of the season.
Juventus made a flying start and Reina had already stopped one Pogba effort before Fernando Llorente turned in a deflected shot from close range after only two minutes.
Reina brilliantly stopped close range headers from Leonardo Bonucci and Llorente before halftime, although Napoli came back into the match after the break with Lorenzo Insigne always menacing.
Juventus settled the match in six stunning minutes, which began with Pirlo scoring from a typically majestic free kick before he was upstaged by Pogba, the player tipped to take over his mantle when the 34-year-old eventually retires. Continued...