Napoli return to winning ways with 2-0 victory over Atalanta

Khvicha Kvaratskhelia scored as Napoli continued their title charge.
Photo by Francesco Pecoraro/Getty Images

Goals by winger Khvicha Kvaratskhelia and defender Amir Rrahmani steered runaway leaders Napoli to a 2-0 home win over sixth-placed Atalanta in Serie A on Saturday, extending the visitors' winless streak to four games.

Napoli, who suffered only their second league defeat last week at home to Lazio, extended their lead at the top of the table to 18 points after second-placed Inter, on 50 points, fell to a shock 2-1 defeat to lowly Spezia on Friday.

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Atalanta, who were held to a goalless draw by Udinese last weekend, remain sixth on 42 points, seven above seventh-placed Juventus and Bologna in eighth -- both with a game in hand -- and Udinese in ninth.

It was another bad week in front of goal for Atalanta, who have not scored in any of their last three games.

Under Gian Piero Gasperini, in charge since 2016, Atalanta had previously only once failed to score in three successive league games, in October 2018.

Napoli winger Matteo Politano had a good chance to put the hosts in front in the sixth minute but his low shot, which was heading inside the right post, was saved by the diving Atalanta keeper Juan Musso.

Just before the half-hour mark, Kvaratskhelia dribbled his way into Atalanta's box from the left touchline but Musso blocked his close-range effort with his chest.

The Atalanta keeper saved the visitors once more shortly before halftime, when he kept out Politano's powerful low shot from the edge of the box and went on to deny in-form striker Osimhen's follow-up strike.

The Nigeria striker could have given Napoli the lead again three minutes into the second half but the alert Musso dived low to save his stunning overhead kick.

They eventually took the lead in the 60th minute when Osimhen set up Kvaratskhelia, who slalomed inside the box before putting Napoli in front with a powerful strike into the roof of the net for his 11th goal of the season.

Atalanta, who failed to have a shot on target in the first half, could have levelled in the 73rd minute through forward Luis Muriel whose low shot was denied by Napoli keeper Pierluigi Gollini.

Atalanta striker Duvan Zapata had a chance to head home seconds later, but Gollini pulled off another great save only to see Rrahmani double Napoli's lead in the 77th with a towering header following a corner.

Napoli, who host Eintracht Frankfurt in the Champions League last-16 second leg on Wednesday, next travel to Torino in Serie A on March 19.

Atalanta will hope to get back to winning ways when they host 14th-placed Empoli on Friday.