Football: Juventus go fourth with Fiorentina win, Roma hold Napoli

Juventus' forward Paulo Dybala (centre) celebrates with teamates at the end of the Italian Serie A football match between Juventus and Fiorentina.
Juventus' forward Paulo Dybala (centre) celebrates with teamates at the end of the Italian Serie A football match between Juventus and Fiorentina. PHOTO: EPA

(REUTERS) - Juventus surged back into the Serie A title race with a 3-1 victory over Fiorentina on Sunday, while Napoli and AS Roma played out a 0-0 stalemate and 10-man AC Milan were held 1-1 by bottom club Hellas Verona.

Fiorentina's Josip Ilicic gave them the lead from the penalty spot during a breathless opening, but Juve were level minutes later when Juan Cuadrado equalised against his former club.

Mario Mandzukic and Paulo Dybala struck second-half goals to add further impetus to the home side's title challenge after a poor start to the season.

Juventus's sixth successive league win helped them go fourth on 30 points, six behind league leaders Inter Milan, while Fiorentina stay second four points off top.

Roma, who have now gone four league games without a win and had goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny to thank for keeping them in the contest against Napoli, dropped to fifth a point behind Juventus.

Napoli are third, level on 32 points with Fiorentina.

Valter Birsa scored the only goal of the game as Chievo beat Atalanta, who had Nicolo Cherubin and Jasmin Kurtic sent off, while Empoli beat struggling Carpi 3-0 to go ninth.

Fiorentina took the lead in the third minute when Ilicic converted from the spot after Giorgio Chiellini was adjudged to have brought down Federico Bernardeschi, although Juve accused the winger of diving.

Juventus responded almost immediately, equalising in the sixth minute when Cuadrado met Patrice Evra's cross with a looping header, before Mandzukic scored in the 80th minute after Fiorentina keeper Ciprian Tatarunsanu failed to hold Paulo Dybala's effort.

Dybala added a third in the second minute of stoppage time when Cuadrado pressured Davide Astori into an error before playing in the Argentine forward, who slotted home past Tatarunsanu.

Roma were booed off the pitch in midweek after an insipid 0-0 Champions League draw against BATE Borisov.

Yet on-loan Chelsea forward Mohamed Salah returned to the starting lineup against Napoli for the first time since early November, and gave them a dynamism that had been missing in his absence.

Napoli, however, steadily took control of the contest and had their chances to win the match, with Marek Hamsik forcing Szczesny into an outstanding double save at the death.

AC Milan coach Sinisa Mihajlovic was left fuming at the referee as his side drew 1-1 at home to bottom-club Hellas Verona.

Carlos Bacca opened the scoring in the 52nd minute, but Luca Toni equalised from the spot in the 57th after Nigel de Jong brought down Leandro Greco and was sent off for preventing a clear goalscoring opportunity. "The fans are right to complain and I am sorry for them and the club," Mihajlovic said to Mediaset. "You've never seen me talk about referees, but you can't fail to mention some things, because for the last two games we've been seriously hurt." Milan are in seventh on 25 points, while Verona stay rooted to the foot of the table with seven points.