Lorenzo Insigne and Piotr Zielinski scored as Napoli beat AC Milan 2-1 at the San Paolo on Saturday to move four points clear at the top of the Serie A table.
Insigne was an unused substitute as Italy were beaten by Sweden in their World Cup play-off during the international break and he was on a mission to prove Gian Piero Ventura wrong.
Ventura was berated by Roma midfielder Daniele De Rossi for not turning to Insigne during the Azzurri’s 1-0 aggregate loss, the coach paying for the defeat by losing his job.
And Insigne was on target as Napoli took the lead after 33 minutes thanks to a video assistant referee referral showing the forward was just onside when he ran on to Jorginho’s terrific pass to score.
While Milan put the hosts under pressure in the second half, Napoli wrapped up the points when a sublime Dries Mertens pass sent Zielinski clear to nutmeg Gianluigi Donnarumma, with Alessio Romagnoli’s injury-time effort a mere consolation.
Though the win sees unbeaten Napoli stretch their advantage over champions Juventus – who are in action at Sampdoria on Sunday – Milan stay four points adrift of the European places in seventh after suffering a sixth league defeat of the campaign.
Meanwhile Roma moved to within two points of Serie A leaders Napoli as goals from Diego Perotti and a superb effort from Radja Nainggolan claimed a 2-1 win over rivals Lazio in the Derby della Capitale.
Eusebio Di Francesco’s side were dominant for much of Saturday’s clash at Stadio Olimpico, with Lazio unable to replicate the form that has seen them win nine consecutive games in all competitions.
After Edin Dzeko had gone close on three occasions prior to the interval, Roma finally got a deserved breakthrough four minutes after the restart – Perotti keeping his cool from 12 yards following Bastos’ foul on former Lazio defender Aleksandar Kolarov in the box.
Roma doubled their tally four minutes later when Nainggolan drove forward with purpose before planting an unerringly accurate finish into the bottom-left corner, giving Thomas Strakosha no chance.