January 21, 2018 / 2:20 PM / a year ago

Soccer-Mertens keeps Napoli top of Serie A

MILAN, Jan 21 (Reuters) - Napoli survived a tough test at Atalanta on Sunday as Dries Mertens’ second-half goal gave them a 1-0 win that kept them top of Serie A.

The Belgian forward ran onto a through ball by Jose Callejon and let the ball bounce several times before scoring with a dipping half-volley over goalkeeper Etrit Berisha in the 65th minute.

Napoli, who avenged their Coppa Italia defeat at home to the same team earlier this month, lead with 54 points from 21 games, four clear of Juventus who host Genoa on Monday.

Mertens, who had not scored in his last nine league outings, took his tally for the season to 11 as his side extended their unbeaten away record in the league to 24 games.

Napoli had the better of the match and could have gone ahead early in the second half when Berisha made a point-blank save from Callejon’s header and Andrea Masiello hooked the ball clear as Mertens looked set to score.

Napoli goalkeeper Pepe Reina made a crucial save from a Bryan Cristante shot before Napoli captain Marek Hamsik missed a sitter, firing over from close range after he had been set up by Mertens. (Writing by Brian Homewood in Bern; Editing by Toby Davis)

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