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14 April 2024

Raspadori fires Napoli past Juve as Bologna’s dream continues

Messenger Sports

Published: 15:37, 4 March 2024

Raspadori fires Napoli past Juve as Bologna’s dream continues

Photo : Collected

Giacomo Raspadori struck late to give Napoli a 2-1 win over unfortunate Juventus on Sunday, while Bologna's Champions League dream continues after beating top-four rivals Atalanta. Italy attacker Raspadori rammed home the winner on the rebound in the 88th minute after Wojciech Szczesny saved Victor Osimhen's penalty, as Napoli showed glimpses that a dreadful season as Italian champions might be turning in the right direction.

Napoli looked like having to accept a draw from their lively display in the 81st minute when Federico Chiesa cancelled out Khvicha Kvaratskhelia's volleyed opener with a rifled finish of his own. Instead Francesco Calzona's team moved up to seventh, three points behind sixth-placed Atalanta who sit in the Europa Conference League spot following their loss earlier on Sunday.

Champions League football is still a big ask as Napoli are eight points away from the fourth position held by Bologna, but there has been a clear improvement under Calzona, who replaced Walter Mazzarri last month. Renewed confidence at Napoli and, in particular, of star forward Kvaratskhelia also bodes well for the trip to Barcelona later in March when a spot in the Champions League quarter-finals will be up for grabs.

Juventus, who were without a host of players including injured key midfielders Adrien Rabiot and Weston McKennie, have given Inter Milan another chance to extend their massive league lead against Genoa on Monday night. Massimiliano Allegri's Juve trail champions-elect Inter by 12 points and second place is far from secure with AC Milan breathing down their necks, just a single point back in third.

Defeat was harsh for Juve who not only fought back from going a goal down but had a host of chances, Dusan Vlahovic hitting the post and then wasting another great opportunity on the stroke of half-time with his team trailing.