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Juventus’ bid for an eighth consecutive Serie A title was given a further boost on Saturday after title-chasing Napoli’s ambitions took a knock with a goalless draw by bottom club Chievo.
Carlo Ancelotti’s second-placed side needed a win to maintain the six-point gap between them and leaders Juventus but could not find a way past Chievo in the Stadio San Paulo just days before hosting Red Star Belgrade in the Champions League.
Napoli is now eight points behind Juventus, who beat SPAL 2-0 on Saturday with goals from in-form Cristiano Ronaldo and Mario Mandzukic.
“There’s no point looking at the Serie A table now. We’ll look and evaluate at the halfway point,” said Ancelotti. Inter Milan are a further point back in third following their comfortable 3-0 win over second-from-bottom Frosinone.
Joaquin Correa snatched a last-gasp 1-1 draw with AC Milan for Lazio as both teams lost ground on the top three. The capital club is fourth but five points behind Inter, whose local rivals Milan are a further point back in fifth.
Ancelotti’s side was frustrated by the side from Verona, who were playing their first game under new coach Domenico Di Carlo, their third manager this season following Lorenzo D’Anna sacked in October and former Italy boss Gian Piero Ventura, who quit after just four games.
“We were too bland in everything we did today in construction, ball recovery and finishing, which allowed Chievo to play a defensive game.
“But it was a good test ahead of Wednesday’s match against the Red Star. The tactical theme against Red Star will be the same.”
Chievo goalkeeper Stefano Sorrentino pulled off some fine saves but was largely helped by Napoli’s wastefulness in front of goal.
A Lorenzo Insigne curling shot hit the post after 75 minutes with towering Senegalese defender Kalidou Koulibaly missed the chance to snatch a late winner when his overhead kick from a corner shot just wide.
“We’ve rediscovered the Chievo spirit,” said Di Carlo, whose side now have one point from 13 games after being deducted three for false accounting.
Correa came off the bench to slot home for Lazio four minutes into added time and cancel out Franck Kessie’s deflected 78th-minute opener.
Lazio had dominated the game in the Stadio Olimpico with Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma denying Ciro Immobile and Brazilian Wallace as the visitors struggled in the absence of suspended Argentine striker Gonzalo Higuain. Lazio’s Sergej Milinkovic-Savic thought he had opened after 28 minutes but was ruled offside.
Milan thought they had grabbed the three points when they broke through 12 minutes from time, Kessie beating Lazio goalkeeper Thomas Strakosha with a shot which took a deflection off Wallace. But Lazio stole a point in the final assault with Correa volleying a low angled shot past Donnarumma. –AFP