Napoli vs. Palermo  2 - 0

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Serie A wrap: Napoli go outright third, Roma held by Chievo

2 May 2012 02:28

Napoli defeated Palermo 2-0 in Tuesday's Serie A action, while Chievo and Roma played out a goalless draw.

At the Stadio San Paolo, Walter Mazzarri's Napoli side recorded a crucial three points in their bid to finish third, and earn a Champions League qualifying berth, thanks to first-half goals from Edinson Cavani and Marek Hamsik.

Cavani opened the scoring with a 16th-minute penalty, his 33rd goal for the club in all competitions this season.

And Hamsik's 35th-minute effort gave the Naples outfit an advantage they did not surrender.

Finishing third in the Serie A would see Napoli enter the playoff stages of the UEFA Champions League next season, and the win saw them move three points clear of Udinese, Inter Milan and Lazio, who are all involved in the battle for a top-three finish.

The day's other match was a dour affair, as two out-of-form sides settled for a point each at the Stadio Marc'Antonio Bentegodi.

Chievo, 12th on the table, are now without a win in five league matches, while seventh-placed Roma are winless in four.

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Serie A preview: Battle for Europe too close to call

1 May 2012 02:55

The battle for a Champions League qualifying spot in Italy is a four-horse race, with Napoli, Udinese, Inter Milan and Lazio in the hunt.

The quartet of challengers are level on 55 points, with Napoli (goal difference of plus 19) heading the other three - Udinese (plus 12), Inter (plus 5) and Lazio (plus 5).

And mid-week fixtures on Tuesday and Wednesday could make or break the respective sides' hopes of reaching Europe's top club competition.

Napoli host Palermo, Udinese travel to relegated Cesena, Inter are on the road to Parma and Lazio welcome Siena.

Lazio should be riled up after the weekend's results, as they fell 2-0 to Udinese in controversial circumstances on Sunday to leave all four teams level on points.

Edy Reja's side have called a 'press silence' after Roberto Pereyra's sealer for Udinese was scored when Lazio players believed they had heard the final whistle - they were in fact misled by a noise from the crowd.

A post-match scuffle ensued, and Andre Dias was sent off for dissent, while Federico Marchetti, Lionel Scaloni and Francelino Matuzalem could all face retrospective punishment which would hinder Lazio's Champions League challenge.

Meanwhile, Juventus will continue their title charge when they host relegation-threatened Lecce, and defending champions AC Milan must keep up the pressure on the unbeaten leaders when they welcome Atalanta.

Juve hold a three-point buffer on Milan with three games remaining, meaning a win against Lecce, followed by victory over Atalanta in mid-week, would leave them one point from the Scudetto.

In other matches, Chievo welcome Roma in Tuesday's early kick-off, while on Wednesday, Bologna travel to Catania with an eye to extending their unbeaten run to six.

Genoa remain in the relegation fight after three straight losses, but can move clear of the drop zone when they host Cagliari, while Fiorentina can relegate Novara when the two teams go head to head at Stadio Artemio Franchi.

Serie A table

# Team MP D P
1 38 +48 84
2 38 +41 80
3 38 +17 64
4 38 +9 62
5 38 +20 61
6 38 +3 58
7 38 +6 56
8 38 +1 56
9 38 -2 51
10 38 -10 49
11 38 -5 48
12 38 -2 46
13 38 -6 46
14 38 +0 44
15 38 -9 43
16 38 -10 43
17 38 -19 42
18 38 -16 36
19 38 -30 32
20 38 -36 22