Napoli ended a winless run of five matches on Monday with a 2-0 victory over Serie A rivals Chievo Verona thanks to goals from Uruguayan duo Miguel Angel Britos and Edinson Cavani.
The win — which followed a run of four draws and a defeat — saw them climb to a point off sixth-placed AS Roma, who slumped to a surprise 1-0 defeat by relegation-threatened AC Siena.
Napoli had the game won by halftime as first Britos rose to head home a 14th-minute corner and then Cavani, otherwise known as the Matador, tucked away a 37th-minute penalty he had obtained himself when he was fouled by Chievo goalkeeper Stefano Sorrentino.
Napoli coach Walter Mazzarri said that his side were capable of playing better soccer once they relaxed.
“This is an important victory,” Mazzarri said. “I am convinced that when we overcome the fear factor, the pressure that we feel weighing down on us, Napoli will show a much better quality of play.”
Roma were left kicking themselves as they missed the chance to leapfrog ailing Inter — who had seen their winless run extended to five games with a stunning 1-0 defeat to tailenders Novara Calcio on Sunday.
Siena’s goal came from the penalty spot in the 51st minute after Danish central defender Simon Kjaer — who had only come on at halftime — brought down Mattia Destro, earning him a yellow card to boot.
Siena’s leading scorer Emanuele Calaio made no mistake as he put away his 10th goal of the season to help his side move five points clear of the relegation places.
Roma’s Spanish coach Luis Enrique admitted that his side had not merited a point.
“This evening a lot of the players were below par,” the 41-year-old former Spain star said. “It was not to be our night. We made too many errors. We are always trying to play attractive football, but if there is no good management of the ball we get into trouble. It is obvious that we are a long way off the consistency we are looking for.”
Meanwhile, Cesena’s game against Catania that was scheduled for today has again been rescheduled because of snow and it is now set to be played on March 7.
The match was originally due to take place on Feb. 4, but it was one of six matches postponed because of the severe weather affecting Italy.
Parts of the country are still being affected by some of the worst weather in nearly half a century and it was decided on Monday to postpone the match again.