April 29, 2018 / 6:45 PM / a year ago

Simeone hat-trick deals Napoli title hopes a severe blow

Soccer Football - Serie A - Fiorentina vs Napoli - Stadio Artemio Franchi, Florence, Italy - April 29, 2018 Napoli's Elseid Hysaj in action with Fiorentina's Cristiano Biraghi REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini

MILAN (Reuters) - Napoli’s Serie A title hopes were dealt a potentially fatal blow on Sunday when they slumped to a 3-0 defeat at Fiorentina after defender Kalidou Koulibaly was sent off in the eighth minute and their rivals took advantage with a Giovanni Simeone hat-trick.

The defeat left Napoli four points behind leaders Juventus with three matches to play, only a week after re-igniting the title race with a last-minute win away to the Turin side.

Juventus won 3-2 at Inter Milan on Saturday after scoring twice in the last five minutes.

Koulibaly was dismissed for felling Simeone as he was about to shoot. The referee at first gave Fiorentina a penalty and handed the Senegalese defender a yellow card, but changed that to a free kick for the home side and a red card for Koulibaly after reviewing the incident with the video assistant referee (VAR).

Writing by Brian Homewood in Bern, editing by Pritha Sarkar

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