Oct 20 (Reuters) - Napoli closed the gap on Serie A leaders Juventus to four points with a 3-0 win at Udinese on Saturday.
Carlo Ancelotti’s side took to the Dacia Arena pitch knowing that a slip-up from the Turin club, who drew 1-1 with Genoa earlier in the day, had handed them a rare chance to gain ground.
Napoli were dealt a blow within the opening few minutes as striker Simone Verdi was forced off with injury, only for his replacement Fabian Ruiz to curl a shot into the top corner on 14 minutes.
Chances fell at both ends before the result was put beyond doubt with 12 minutes remaining when the away side were awarded a penalty for handball that Dries Mertens converted.
Substitute Marko Rog then hit a third for the visitors with five minutes to go, shooting low past Simone Scuffet following an exchange with Mertens.
Second-placed Napoli, on 21 points from nine games to Juventus’s 25, also extended their advantage over Roma to seven points after the capital club, sixth in the table, fell to a 2-0 defeat at home to SPAL at the Stadio Olimpico, courtesy of goals from Andrea Petagna and Kevin Bonifazi.
Inter Milan, third in the table with 16 points and with a game in hand, host AC Milan on Sunday. (Reporting by Alasdair Mackenzie; editing by Tony Lawrence )