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Napoli-Lecce draw leaves Roma on Serie A summit

By AFP - Sep 01,2022 - Last updated at Sep 01,2022

MILAN — Roma stayed top of Serie A on Wednesday after Napoli were held to a 1-1 draw by Lecce, while underwhelming Juventus beat Spezia 2-0.

Napoli would have gone first on goal difference with a win over their promoted opponents at the Stadio Maradona but Lorenzo Colombo’s rocket just after the half-hour mark ensured Lecce escaped Naples with a point.

Luciano Spalletti’s side sit third after four games, two points behind Roma and one away from second-placed Inter Milan, while Lecce are 15th after earning their second point of the campaign.

“This Lecce team sweats blood... and fights for its people. We’ll be rewarded if we go out onto the pitch every time with this spirit,” said Colombo to DAZN.

Napoli thought they were on their way to a regulation win when Eljif Elmas tapped in Matteo Politano’s mishit shot in the 27th minute.

The hosts took the lead just seconds after Alex Meret had kept them level by beating away Colombo’s retaken penalty follow a clumsy foul on Federico Di Francesco by Tanguy Ndombele on his full debut.

But Colombo — whose first successful spot-kick was ruled out as the referee had not blown his whistle — was not downhearted and blasted Lecce level four minutes after they went behind.

The Italy U-21 international brought down a clearance and, after not being closed down, spun and unleashed a shot which this time left Meret grasping at air.

“I heard a whistle thinking it was the referee so I took the penalty, I only realised after that there had been no whistle,” added Colombo.

“So I retook it and missed, but I stayed in the game. There was still a long time to go and the team still needed me so I didn’t want to leave it at that.”

Napoli pushed the whole second half for the win, but apart from Elmas being denied from close range soon after the break and Victor Osimhen heading over late on, they struggled to create clear-cut chances and had to settle for a point.

 

Vlahovic strikes again

 

Juventus are level on points with Napoli in fourth thanks to another superb ninth-minute free-kick from Dusan Vlahovic, his fourth goal of the season, and Arkadiusz Milik’s first for the club in front of new signing Leandro Paredes.

Argentina star Paredes was at the Allianz Stadium in Turin after completing his loan move from Paris Saint-Germain earlier in the day.

The three points maintain Juve’s unbeaten record but won’t hide another disappointing performance from Massimiliano Allegri’s injury-dogged side.

Allegri was without Leonardo Bonucci, Federico Chiesa and Paul Pogba, whose private life has been in the headlines after what he described as threats and extortion attempts from gangsters.

Angel Di Maria returned as a second-half substitute after recovering from a thigh injury picked up during his debut earlier in the month.

But he failed to provide the spark which would have made Juve’s win more convincing, even though fellow substitute Milik netted in stoppage time after deftly firing home from Fabio Miretti’s low cross.

Earlier, Manolo Gabbiadini saved a point for Sampdoria in a 1-1 home draw with Lazio, netting his team’s first goal of the season in stoppage time and lifting them out of the Serie A drop zone.

Empoli and Verona played out a 1-1 draw in the other early kick-off.

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