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Roma end winless run to close gap on Juve

Mauro-Icardi-InterRoma snapped a four-game winless streak by beating Cagliari 2-1 to close the gap on Serie A leaders Juventus to seven points.

The capital club had drifted off the pace in the title race thanks to four straight draws, but goals from Adem Ljajic and Leandro Paredes – both set up by full debutant Daniele Verde – put them back on track. Gianfranco Zola’s Cagliari, who found a late consolation from substitute Paul-Jose M’Poku at Stadio Sant’Elia, remain in 17th place and one point clear of the relegation zone following back-to-back defeats.

Napoli strengthened their grip on third place with a comfortable 3-1 home win over Udinese. Dries Mertens and Manolo Gabbiadini put them two in front before Cyril Thereau reduced the arrears.

However, Thereau then scored an own goal to restore Napoli’s two-goal advantage, which they held to the end to establish a seven-point cushion over fourth-placed Fiorentina.

Manuel Pasqual had earlier struck a late goal to give new Fiorentina signing Mohamed Salah a winning debut against visiting Atalanta. The Egyptian winger, who has joined on loan from Chelsea, came on in the 65th minute with the score level at 1-1 after Viola defender Jose Maria Basanta had cancelled out Davide Zappacosta’s opener.

Alessandro Diamanti then put Fiorentina ahead with his first goal for the club, but Atalanta substitute Richmond Boakye equalised with seven minutes remaining. Pasqual ensured all three points for the Viola one minute from time as Fiorentina climbed to fourth in the table with the 3-2 victory. Atalanta, who had lost just one of their previous six games, dropped to 15th.

Empoli halted a nine-game winless run with a comfortable 2-0 home triumph over struggling Cesena. Massimo Maccarone set Empoli on their way in the 30th minute before Franco Signorelli made it two shortly before the hour mark. Cesena could not find a way through as Empoli kept a clean sheet for the sixth time this season.

Elsewhere, Sampdoria and Sassuolo shared a 1-1 draw at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris, with Eder cancelling out Francesco Acerbi’s early opener. Bottom side Parma’s relegation six-pointer against Chievo at the Stadio Ennio Tardini has been rearranged for Wednesday night due to heavy snowfall in the Emilian city.

Struggling Inter win
In Sunday’s late game, Mauro Icardi scored twice as Inter Milan climbed into the top half of the table with a convincing 3-0 victory over Palermo.

The struggling Italian giants have been languishing in the lower reaches since the autumn but closed to within a point of eighth-placed Palermo thanks to a brace from Icardi and Fredy Guarin’s first-half strike.

It was surprise package Palermo’s first game without managing to score since late October as Inter’s defence dealt expertly with the threat posed by their 11-goal striker Paulo Dybala.

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