February 26, 2018 / 10:00 PM / 23 days ago

Napoli crush Cagliari 5-0 to go four points clear

(Reuters) - Napoli moved four points clear at the top of Serie A with an impressive 5-0 away rout of struggling Cagliari on Monday as they stretched their winning streak to 11 games.

Soccer Football - Serie A - Cagliari Calcio vs Napoli - Sardegna Arena, Cagliari, Italy - February 26, 2018 Napoli's Marek Hamsik scores their third goal REUTERS/Alberto Lingria

First-half goals from Jose Maria Callejon and Dries Mertens set Napoli on their way before Marek Hamsik, Lorenzo Insigne and a late Mario Rui strike wrapped up the points for the visitors.

Napoli have 69 points from 26 games ahead of champions Juventus whose home game against Atalanta at the Allianz Stadium was postponed on Sunday due to heavy snowfall.

Napoli manager Maurizio Sarri fielded an adventurous 4-3-3 formation with attacking midfielders Hamsik and Allan behind a three-pronged attack and it paid off handsomely.

Spaniard Callejon fired the visitors ahead in the 29th minute with a neat finish from 12 metres after a darting run and cross from the right by Brazilian Allan.

Soccer Football - Serie A - Cagliari Calcio vs Napoli - Sardegna Arena, Cagliari, Italy - February 26, 2018 Napoli's Mario Rui celebrates scoring their fifth goal REUTERS/Alberto Lingria

Belgium forward Mertens doubled the lead shortly before halftime when he turned in an Elseid Hysaj cross from close range as Napoli took control of the match.

Slovakian Hamsik made it 3-0 and celebrated his 99th league goal for Napoli with a thunderbolt from 18 metres just past the hour mark before Insigne added the fourth with a penalty in the 72nd after defender Leandro Castan handled the striker’s shot.

Slideshow (2 Images)

Left back Rui put the icing on the cake in the 90th minute as he curled a superb free kick which left the home team’s goalkeeper Alessio Cragno rooted to the spot.

The hosts started brightly as Leonardo Pavoletti and 19-year old North Korean talent Kwang-Song Han missed early chances but Napoli moved up a gear midway through the first half.

Cagliari stayed 15th on 25 points, five above the relegation zone, having won only two of their last 13 league games.

Writing by Zoran Milosavljevic; Editing by Ken Frris

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