October 27, 2019 / 4:26 PM / 16 days ago

Sluggish Napoli fail to close on leaders with draw at lowly SPAL

Soccer Football - Serie A - SPAL v Napoli - Paolo Mazza, Ferrara, Italy - October 27, 2019 Napoli's Giovanni Di Lorenzo and Lorenzo Insigne with teammates as they react after the match REUTERS/Jennifer Lorenzini

ROME (Reuters) - Napoli failed to gain ground on Serie A pacesetters Juventus and Inter Milan as they were held to a 1-1 draw at struggling SPAL on Sunday.

Arkadiusz Milik put Napoli in front early in the first half but Carlo Ancelotti’s side were soon pegged back by a Jasmin Kurtic strike.

Substitute Fabian Ruiz hit the post for the visitors as they pushed for a winner after the break, but the home side held on to avoid defeat for just the third time this season.

Leaders Juventus (23 points) and second-placed Inter (22) were held to surprise draws by Lecce and Parma respectively on Saturday, but Napoli’s draw left them in fourth place on 17 points.

Third-placed Atalanta surged to within three points of Juve with a 7-1 hammering of Udinese featuring a Luis Muriel hat-trick.

Gian Piero Gasperini’s side set records in the process, becoming the first team in the three points for a win era to score 28 goals in nine games and equalling the biggest win in their Serie A history, a 7-1 triumph over Triestina in 1952.

Cagliari, in fifth, were held to a 1-1 draw at Torino after Simone Zaza struck for the hosts to cancel out a Nahitan Nandez strike.

In the early kickoff, Bologna ended a five-match winless run with a 2-1 victory over rock-bottom Sampdoria.

Reporting by Alasdair Mackenzie, editing by Ed Osmond

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