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Genoa go third with win as Napoli held

serie-a-logoGenoa returned to third place in the Italian Serie A table on Sunday after Luca Antonelli’s goal condemned AC Milan to their third defeat of the season.

Napoli’s earlier failure to beat Empoli meant the final UEFA Champions League place was up for grabs and Genoa took it back thanks to Antonelli, whose first-half header proved sufficient to settle a 1-0 home victory. Milan suffered their first loss on the road this term but remain in the hunt for a European berth nonetheless.

Napoli scored twice in side five minutes to salvage a point in a dramatic 2-2 draw at the San Paolo. Empoli looked to be on course for their third win in four league games when Simone Verdi gave them a first-half lead before team-mate Daniele Rugani made it 2-0 eight minutes after the restart. However, the hosts staged a comeback with Duvan Zapata reducing the deficit in the 67th minute before substitute Jonathan de Guzman made it 2-2 shortly after.

Lazio piled further misery on Parma with a 2-1 win at the Stadio Ennio Tardini that left Roberto Donadoni’s side rooted to the bottom of the table. Raffaele Palladino put the hosts ahead in the 45th minute but Parma’s joy was shortlived as Lazio’s Stefano Mauri equalised seconds before half-time. Felipe Anderson then put the Romans in front for good before the hour mark as Lazio halted a three-match winless streak to climb to fifth in the standings.

Elsewhere, Atalanta came from behind to beat strugglers Cesena 3-2, ending a six-match winless run. Gregoire Defrel’s brace had given Cesena a 2-0 lead after 43 minutes had been played before Yohan Benalouane reduced the deficit on the stroke of half-time. Goals from Guglielmo Stendardo and Maximiliano Moralez early in the second half handed Atalanta their first league win since 19 October and boosted them four points clear of the relegation zone.

In Sunday’s late game, former Inter Milan coach Andrea Stramaccioni returned to San Siro to lead his Udinese side to a 2-1 victory. After being sacked in May 2013, the young tactician took a year out before landing the Bianconeri job and his one-time employers will wonder what might have been after watching Udinese dominate proceedings in Milan.

Mauro Icardi gave Inter the lead just before half-time but a sumptuous solo goal from Bruno Fernandes drew Udinese level before substitute Cyril Thereau capitalised on a defensive blunder to steer home the winner. Stramaccioni’s men climb to eighth in the table after snapping a five-match winless streak while Roberto Mancini’s Inter are marooned in the bottom half having endured their fifth defeat of the campaign.