October 29, 2017 / 2:27 PM / 23 days ago

Napoli restore Serie A lead, Benevento lose again

MILAN (Reuters) - Serie A leaders Napoli made it 10 wins from 11 league matches this season with a typically entertaining 3-1 win over Sassuolo on Sunday.

Soccer Football - Serie A - S.S.C. Napoli vs U.S. Sassuolo Calcio - Stadio San Paolo, Naples, Italy - October 29, 2017 Napoli's Dries Mertens scores their third goal REUTERS/Ciro De Luca

At the other end of the table, newcomers Benevento slumped to their eleventh defeat in as many matches when they were thumped 5-1 at home by Lazio.

Sampdoria beat Chievo 4-1 to extend their perfect home record while Crotone, who pulled off a great escape last season, and promoted SPAL both won for only the second time, beating Fiorentina and Genoa respectively.

Napoli’s match featured a controversial VAR decision when the referee initially awarded Sassuolo a penalty but then changed his mind after consulting the video assistant referee and gave a free kick on the edge of the area.

Sassuolo, already 3-1 down by then, sent their free kick into the wall and Francesco Cassata hit the post in their next attack.

That was followed by an unusual incident when Napoli’s Piotr Zielinski saw his shot hit the foot of both posts before bouncing out.

Napoli, the only unbeaten team alongside Inter Milan, have 31 points out of 33, three ahead of Juventus and Lazio.

Brazilian midfielder Allan put Napoli ahead in the 22nd minute when he dispossessed Stefano Sensi on the edge of the area and slipped his shot past Andrea Consigli.

Soccer Football - Serie A - S.S.C. Napoli vs U.S. Sassuolo Calcio - Stadio San Paolo, Naples, Italy - October 29, 2017 Napoli's Marek Hamsik in action shoots at goal REUTERS/Ciro De Luca

Faouzi Ghoulam volleyed against the post as Napoli dominated until Sassuolo levelled out of the blue in the 41st minute, Diego Falcinelli beating three defenders to the ball to meet Matteo Politano’s cross with a towering header.

Napoli regained the lead three minutes later when Jose Callejon’s corner sneaked in at the near post. The stadium announcer, known as Decibel Bellini, announced Lorenzo Insigne as the scorer but replays showed he did not touch the ball.

Dries Mertens added the third in the 54th minute, his tenth goal of the campaign, although it was another untidy effort.

Slideshow (3 Images)

Benevento had come agonisingly close to their first point when they lost 2-1 at Cagliari in the final minute of injury time on Wednesday but never looked like breaking their duck against Lazio, who won their sixth league game in a row.

Bastos put Lazio ahead from a corner in the fourth minute, Ciro Immobile added a second before the quarter hour was up with his 14th league goal of the season and Adam Marusic tapped in an Immobile cross to make it 3-0 after 23 minutes.

Achraf Lazaar pulled one back in the 55th minute -- only Benevento’s fourth goal of the season - and the basement club briefly threatened another, but further goals from Marco Parolo and substitute Nani saw off the danger.

Nani’s goal was the first for the Portugal forward since he joined on loan from Valencia in August.

Mirco Antenucci’s second-half goal gave SPAL a 1-0 win over Genoa, pushing their rivals into the bottom three, while Ante Budimir and Marcello Trotta scored in a two-minute spell to set up Crotone’s 2-1 win over Fiorentina.

Karol Linetty, Duvan Zapata and Lucas Torreira, with two, shared Sampdoria’s goals and Fabrizio Cacciatore replied for the Flying Donkeys.

Writing by Brian Homewood in Berne; Editing by Clare Fallon

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