Napoli title challenge over with Atalanta defeat

It’s a bridge too far for Napoli after the Serie A title challengers were handed a 2-0 defeat by Atalanta.

Napoli, who were also runners-up in the Italian top-flight last season, are now just 3 points above the fourth-place team.

More importantly, it is now clear that their campaign for the title this season is essentially over — as they fell 12 points behind table leaders Juventus.

But they simply had no reply as Atalanta defender Mattia Caldara stole the show with a goal in each half.

Although Napoli started well and hit the crossbar twice in the first half, and Atalanta reached half-time up 1-0 after a corner bounced through to Caldara and he nodded it in.

Atalanta continued to press, though their chances of getting a second appeared to diminish when their midfield player Franck Kessie was sent off following two bookings in quick succession.

However, Napoli landed a solid advantage through Caldara, who doubled his tally three minutes later by volleying in Leonardo Spinazzola’s dinked cross into the bottom left corner.

Napoli fought to get back into the match and Jose Callejon should have scored but headed wide instead from point-blank range.

The result ended Napoli’s run of 14 league matches without defeat, as both Roma and Juventus continue to surge ahead in the Serie A table after both won their respective weekend fixtures.

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