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Football: Udinese put brakes on Napoli in Serie A

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Udinese held challengers Napoli to a scoreless draw on Monday to leave leaders Juventus with a six-point cushion at the top of Serie A.

Napoli had hoped to capitalise on the extra day's rest after their Europa League exit at the hands of Czech side Viktoria Plzen last Thursday to close the gap to four points.

However Walter Mazzarri's title challengers were left lamenting several missed chances on their way to dropping two points and boosting both Juve and third-placed AC Milan, who are now only seven points adrift.

The Partenopei underlined their intentions by starting with the attack-minded front trio of striker Edinson Cavani, Lorenzo Insigne and Marek Hamsik.

But the visitors were left frustrated after a first half in which Udinese seemed happy to sit back and defend and wait to counter-attack.

Early on Cavani failed to make contact despite a sly run towards goal when Giandomenico Mesto aimed in a cross.

Udinese did hit Napoli on the counter, but both Antonio Di Natale and Giovanni Pasquale sent their efforts high and wide respectively.

Napoli, however, had the momentum and after Gokhan Inler sent a long range effort over from long-range Hamsik missed the best chance of the half when he headed a long cross from the left straight at 'keeper Daniele Padelli.

Udinese started in more positive fashion after the break and came close just five minutes in although Argentine Roberto Pereyra wasted Antonio Di Natale's cross by firing into the stands from close range.

Napoli regained control but just couldn't finish the job despite a number of promising offensives, with Cavani spurning a late chance with 15 minutes on the clock after a great move down the left with Colombian Pablo Armero.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130225/football-udinese-put-brakes-napoli-serie