Cavani sinks Lazio, Juve beat Roma
Edinson Cavani's hat-trick helped Napoli move ahead of Inter Milan into second place in Serie A after they came from behind to beat a Lazio side who had twice led the game, 4-3.
Lazio appeared to be on course to close the gap on Napoli in third place when they took the lead in the 28th minute as midfielder Stefano Mauri fired into the corner of the net from the middle of the penalty area.
The hosts then found themselves two goals up on 56 minutes when centre-back Andre Dias fired in after a pinpoint free-kick from Javier Garrido. But Napoli have been in fantastic form at the San Paolo, not losing at home since league leaders AC Milan won there in October, and two quickfire goals brought them right back into the match.
Firstly, on the hour mark, full-back Andrea Dossena headed in from six yards before Cavani scored his first of the match two minutes later, another header after a flick-on by Christian Maggio. Giuseppe Biava was then sent off for the visitors with ten minutes to go after hauling down the impressive Cavani in the box, the Uruguayan picking himself up to convert the penalty.
Cavani, who is now Napoli's all-time top goalscorer in a single season, then completed his hat-trick with one minute of regulation time remaining, beating the offside trap to lob Fernando Muslera in the Lazio goal to spark scenes of wild celebrations.
Juventus gave under-fire coach Luigi del Neri a much needed boost as they beat Roma 2-0 at the Stadio Olimpico.
Midfielder Milos Krasic opened the scoring with a fine volley after goalkeeper Marco Storari had kept the Roma strikers at bay in the first half. The Serbian caught his shot to perfection after good work from Fabio Grosso and, 15 minutes later, a long ball found Alessandro Matri and he slid home the second with ease after breaking the offside trap on the halfway line.
Roma have only taken one point off Juve at home since the Bianconeri were promoted from Serie B and they could not find a way back. The result leaves Juve just two points off Roma in 6th place.
Lecce moved out of the relegation zone and picked up their eighth win of the season with a shock 2-0 win over in-form Udinese.
Andrea Bertolacci netted twice in the second half to inflict a first defeat in 14 matches on Francesco Guidolin's fourth-placed team, who had won six of their previous seven games and were unbeaten in 13 going into this contest.
Catania boosted their survival hopes by producing a blistering second-half display to thrash eighth-placed Palermo 4-0 at the Stadio Angelo Massimino.
Federico Balzaretti's own goal three minutes after the restart proved the catalyst for the Sicilians, with further goals from Gonzalo Bergessio and substitutes Pablo Ledesma and Simone Pesce sealing the rout.
Genoa fell to their first home defeat since January 16 as they were beaten 1-0 by Cagliari to end any lingering hopes they had of playing in Europe next season.
Genoa were beaten by one of their own too with Robert Acquafresca, who is currently on loan from them to Cagliari until the end of the season, scoring the only goal of the game in the 16th minute.
Fabio Caserta grabbed a late equaliser for Cesena in a 2-2 draw against Fiorentina but could not prevent them dropping into the relegation zone with this draw at Stadio Dino Manuzzi.
The home side had taken the lead from Luis Jimenez's free-kick but Alberto Gilardino and Riccardo Montolivo replied to give Fiorentina the lead. Caserta struck with just three minutes remaining to secure a share of the spoils, but Lecce's win over Udinese means Cesena drop into the bottom three.
Bari substitute Edgar Alvarez scored an injury-time winner in a 2-1 win at Parma to keep the Galletti's faint hopes of remaining in Serie A alive.
Rooted at the bottom of the table, Bari took a 64th-minute lead when Alessandro Parisi's free-kick beat home goalkeeper Antonio Mirante. However, Parma striker Amauri looked as if he had earned a point with an 80th-minute header. The struggling Galletti claimed a precious victory, however, at the Ennio Tardini stadium thanks to Alvarez's goal and the result saw the end of Parma coach Pasquale Marino, who was sacked later that evening.
In the day's other game, Sampdoria and Chievo mustered just two shots on target in a game that finished 0-0.
Samp have now failed to score in six of their past seven games and looked devoid of ideas again with Massimo Maccarone missing their best chance before being substituted.
In the end both sides were indebted to the profligacy of the other with Chievo, who themselves have gone goalless in four of their past five matches, offering little to entertain their home fans.