Bernardeschi strike keeps Juventus on Napoli’s trail

MILAN: Fernando Bernardeschi scored the only goal as champions Juventus kept Serie A leaders Napoli in their sights with a 1-0 win over Cagliari in Sardinia on Saturday.

Napoli cemented their position in top spot before Italy’s two-week winter break with 51 points from 20 games after seeing off Verona 2-0.

They are one point clear of Juventus with Inter Milan a distant third, nine points behind the leaders, after being held 1-1 at Fiorentina on Friday.

Italian winger Bernardeschi nudged home on 74 minutes following a solo break by Douglas Costa down the right flank, but there were worries for Massimiliano Allegri’s side with Argentina star Paulo Dybala limping off in tears with a suspected hamstring strain, and Sami Khedira receiving a head knock.

“We’re doing well so far this season, just just behind Napoli, through to the Champions League round of 16 and into the Italian Cup semi-finals,” said Allegri. “Fortunately we’re go into a two-week break now and he’ll (Dybala) obviously need to rest more than the others during that time.”

Both Napoli’s goals came in the second half against a dogged Verona, with Kalidou Koulibaly breaking the deadlock after 65 minutes in Naples and Jose Callejon sealing the win 13 minutes later.

Coach Maurizio Sarri remains cautious despite heading into the second half of the season ahead of the reigning six-time champions.

“We know that Juventus have years of certainties — that they can safely close above 90 points, while we cannot say the same thing about ourselves,” said the Napoli boss. “We know that we must repeat last season’s performances to get back into the Champions League and anything more than that is undiscovered territory.”

Roma missed the chance to join Inter on 42 points, slipping to fifth after a shock 2-1 defeat to ten-man Atalanta in Rome.

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