April 18, 2018 / 9:28 PM / a month ago

Napoli hit back twice to beat Udinese and cut Juve's lead

FLORENCE, Italy (Reuters) - Napoli added a new twist to the Serie A title race when they twice came from behind to beat Udinese 4-2 on Wednesday and cut Juventus’ lead to four points after the Turin side were held 1-1 at relegation-threatened Crotone.

Soccer Football - Serie A - Napoli vs Udinese Calcio - Stadio San Paolo, Naples, Italy - April 18, 2018 Napoli's Raul Albiol celebrates with Amadou Diawara after scoring their second goal REUTERS/Ciro De Luca

Crotone striker Simy scored with a bicycle kick that Cristiano Ronaldo would have been proud of to peg back leaders Juventus who host second-placed Napoli in a potential title showdown on Sunday.

Fiorentina forward Jordan Veretout scored a hat-trick but was on the losing side in a 4-3 home defeat by Lazio in which two players were sent off in the first 15 minutes, visiting coach Simone Inzaghi was dismissed and a penalty was revoked by VAR.

Juventus, chasing a seventh successive title, lead with 85 points, followed by Napoli on 81 with AS Roma and Lazio on 64 in the other two Champions League places.

At one point in the evening, it looked as if Juve could go nine points clear as they led and Napoli fell behind.

Alex Sandro scored with a glancing header in the 17th minute for the champions but they were stunned by Simy’s second-half effort.

A loose ball bounced up into the area and the Nigerian, with his back to goal, leapt into the air and acrobatically fired past Wojciech Szczesny.

Soccer Football - Serie A - Napoli vs Udinese Calcio - Stadio San Paolo, Naples, Italy - April 18, 2018 Napoli's Lorenzo Tonelli celebrates scoring their fourth goal with Raul Albiol REUTERS/Ciro De Luca

Crotone remained in the drop zone, one point adrift of SPAL who drew 0-0 at home to Chievo.

Udinese, who had lost their previous nine league games, stunned Napoli with a goal by Jakub Jankto four minutes before halftime.

Lorenzo Insigne levelled in first-half stoppage time only for Svante Ingelsson to put the Friuli back ahead early in the second half.

Defender Raul Albiol headed Napoli level a second time before goals from Arkadiusz Milik and Lorenzo Tonelli ensured three points for the hosts.

Slideshow (5 Images)

ASTONISHING OPENING

There was an astonishing opening in Florence where Fiorentina goalkeeper Marco Sportiello was sent off for handling outside his area in the seventh minute.

Lazio defender Alessandro Murgia followed seven minutes later for tripping up Federico Chiesa when he had a clear run on goal and Veretout curled home the resulting free kick.

Already angry over that decision, Lazio were livid when Fiorentina were awarded a contentious penalty in the 31st minute for a trip by Luiz Felipe on Cristiano Biraghi, calmly dispatched by Veretout.

Disgruntled Lazio coach Simone Inzaghi was sent off for one protest too many and missed a stunning comeback by his team as

Luis Alberto curled in an exquisite free kick in the 39th minute before Martin Caceres headed Lazio level before halftime.

Veretout put Fiorentina back in front with an individual goal before Lazio were awarded a penalty which was revoked by VAR for offside in the build-up.

Felipe Anderson and Luis Alberto scored twice in four minutes to give Lazio the points but there were plenty of bad-tempered exchanges as Fiorentina pressed for a winner and the visitors wasted time.

In other games, Champions League semi-finalists AS Roma beat Genoa 2-1 while Torino and AC Milan drew 1-1 after Andrea Belotti missed an early penalty for the hosts.

Reporting by Brian Homewood, editing by Ed Osmond

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