Napoli closed the gap on top of Serie A to two points after a labored 1-0 win against Genoa and Juventus’ goalless draw against a struggling SPAL team.
Raul Albiol scored on his 200th appearance for Napoli at the Stadio San Paolo, although his team were made to work for a goal throughout the game.
Genoa, who started game off the back of two straight defeats, they started strong with Darko Lazovic stretching the home defence in the early stages before Dries Mertens sent Napoli’s first chance just wide.
However, the home side begin to feel frustration as their efforts up front went unrewarded — with Mertens hitting the woodwork, Allan missing a golden chance and Lorenzo Insigne also finding the bar with his header from a corner.
Albiol’s goal then came at a timely moment, with the defender rising above the Genoa defence to head home a Jose Callejon corner at the near post.
Napoli’s win meant that they were just two points behind Juventus, who were frustrated through their goalless stalemate against Napoli.
Despite their many attempts at goal, the Bianconeri simply could not break down their resolute opponents who are fighting for their Serie A survival, the point taking them out of the bottom three.
Still, Albiol insisted that Napoli should be focusing instead on themselves rather than pursuing Juve.
“After the international break we’ll have another crucial fixture with Sassuolo,” he said after the game. “They’re fighting for survival and will need those points. We need to keep doing what we’re doing — imposing our game on the opposition and keeping this mindset.
“To keep up with Juve we need to give everything and always try to win. Game by game we’ll try to stay at the top.”