REUTERS – Gonzalo Higuain scored twice as Napoli extended their lead at the top of Serie A by coming from behind to defeat Sassuolo 3-1 at home on Saturday, while Inter Milan’s title challenge faltered with a 1-1 draw at Atalanta.
Jose Callejon cancelled out Diego Falcinelli’searly penalty in the 19th minute before Higuain scored twice to extend Napoli’s lead at the top to four points.
Inter are second on 40 points, one ahead of Juventus who are away at Udinese on Sunday.
Maurizio Sarri’s side fell behind in the third minute when Nicola Sansone was brought down by Raul Albiol, with Falcinelli slamming the spot kick past Pepe Reina.
But the league leaders drew level when Callejon ended his 26-game wait for a Serie A goal by leaping to head home Lorenzo Insigne’s curling cross.
Higuain scored his 19th league goal of the season in the42nd minute when he smashed Marek Hamsik’s cross past Andrea Consigli, and made it 20 goals in 20 league matches by finding the back of the net in injury time.
Inter headed to Atalanta having lost two of their last three league fixtures, including a surprise 1-0 loss at Sassuolo last weekend.
They fell behind again on Saturday when Murillo sentthe impressive Boukary Drame’s cross past Handanovic but Inter equalised eight minutes later when the off-balance Toloi mis-hit Mauro Icardi’s cross into the roof of the Atalanta goal.
In the second half, Atalanta had the better chances but Handanovic kept the scores level with a series of outstanding saves, notably from Luca Cigarini in the 59th minute.
“The goalkeeper is there to make saves and Handanovic hadtwo or three occasions where he was excellent,” Inter manager Roberto Mancini said to Mediaset Premium.
“I am not happy. Someone has to do more because these aregames we should be winning.”
Ciro Immobile marked his Torino comeback with a goal to endtheir four-game winless streak with a 4-2 home victory over Frosinone.
The striker returned on loan from Sevilla on Thursday aftera disappointing spell away from Serie A, and converted a penalty after only nine minutes to the delight of the home fans.
Paolo Sammarco equalised, but two goals from Andrea Belottigave Torino control. A 74th-minute Danilo Avelar own goal had threatened a Frosinone revival but Marco Benassi rounded off Torino’s win in the 82nd minute.
Torino move up to 11th on 25 points, level with Atalanta, while Frosinone are 18th on 15 points.
(Editing by Clare Fallon and Pritha Sarkar)