Udinese stall Napoli as Lazio reclaim 3rd place
By Justin Davis ,AFPMILAN -- Udinese stalled Napoli's Serie A title challenge with a scoreless draw on Monday as Lazio reclaimed third place from AC Milan with a 2-0 win over Pescara thanks to a pair of sublime long-range goals.
February 27, 2013, 12:08 am TWN
Napoli had hoped to capitalize on the extra day's rest after their Europa League exit at the hands of Czech side Viktoria Plzen last Thursday to close the gap on leaders Juventus to four points.
However Walter Mazzarri's title challengers were left lamenting several missed chances during a performance that left them six points off the pace.
Mazzarri, however, refused to point the finger.
“If we played like that against Juventus we'd still have given them a game,” said the coach.
“Obviously the win would have been better for us but we created opportunities and simply didn't have the rub of the green.”
Opportunity knocked, and in Monday's late match Lazio eased past struggling Pescara to a 14th league win which moved the Biancocelesti one place up to fourth.
Milan, who drew 1-1 with Inter in the “Derby della Madonnina” on Sunday, went the other way.
“We needed the three points we took tonight to get us up and running again, and we're back up to third ahead of our rivals,” said Lazio coach Vladimir Petkovic, whose side next face Milan away on Saturday.
“It was important to go into our game to Milan with a positive frame of mind and now we'll be a bit more relaxed for our trip to the San Siro.”
Lazio broke the deadlock in the 29th minute when Romanian defender Stefan Radu first-timed Senad Lulic's cut-back to smash the ball past Ivan Pelizzoli and into the top corner off the crossbar.
Barely six minutes later Pescara's defence gave Lulic time and space to advance and he repaid them by sending another sublime strike inside the beaten Pelizzoli's right hand post.