SSC Napoli returned to Serie A action with a 2-0 defeat of UC Sampdoria on a day when Kaká registered his 100th goal for AC Milan.
Two quickfire strikes from Dries Mertens steered Rafael Benítez's side to only their third win in seven league outings. The Belgium winger broke the deadlock in Naples eight minutes after half-time by turning in Gonzalo Higuaín's pinpoint centre and found the net again with a crisp free-kick. The result moves Napoli to within two points of second-placed AS Roma and three clear of ACF Fiorentina in fourth.
Playmaker Kaká also struck twice and surpassed a century of goals for Milan in their commanding 3-0 home victory against Atalanta BC. Teenager Bryan Cristante completed the formalities at San Siro as the Rossoneri arrested a sequence of three games without success. High-flying Hellas Verona FC kept up their momentum, meanwhile, sweeping aside hosts Udinese Calcio 3-1 to climb into fifth.
Parma FC prevailed by the same scoreline at home to Torino FC, with forward Amauri ending a run of 13 Serie A matches without a goal, while Calcio Catania and Genoa CFC both triumphed 2-0, against Bologna FC and US Sassuolo Calcio respectively.
In the late kick-off, Miroslav Klose's goal nine minutes from time was enough to earn SS Lazio a 1-0 win at home to FC Internazionale Milano that lifts them into the top half of the table.
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|Last updated: 06/01/2014 20:24 CET|
Mertens 53, 62
|5||Hellas Verona FC||18||32|
|6||FC Internazionale Milano||18||31|
|16||AC Chievo Verona||18||16|
|18||US Sassuolo Calcio||18||14|
|19||AS Livorno Calcio||18||13|