Sports / Soccer

Napoli squander two-goal lead as Juve, Roma win

(Agencies) Updated: 2014-09-25 10:49

Napoli squander two-goal lead as Juve, Roma win

Napoli's Belgian forward Dries Mertens (L) waves to fans next to Napoli's Dutch forward Jonathan De Guzman at the end of their Italian Serie A football match against Palermo FC at the San Paolo Stadium in Naples, September 24, 2014. [Photo/Agencies]

MILAN - Napoli's Serie A troubles continued on Wednesday when they were jeered off the pitch at a half-empty Sao Paolo stadium after a 3-3 draw to promoted Palermo.

The match followed two successive 1-0 defeats for Rafael Benitez's side and saw the home side squander a 2-0 and 3-2 lead.

Leading pair Juventus and AS Roma had no such problems as they won to maintain their perfect records after four games.

Arturo Vidal scored twice to give title-holders Juventus a 3-0 win over Cesena as they became the first team in Serie A history to complete their opening four without conceding a goal.

A spectacular late Miralem Pjanic free kick gave Roma a 2-1 win at Parma after Adem Ljajic had put the visitors in front and Paolo De Ceglie had levelled for Parma.

Pablo Daniel Osvaldo scored with a scissors kick to set Inter Milan on the way to a 2-0 win over Atalanta while unbeaten Sampdoria were 2-1 winners at home to Chievo. Verona, who drew 2-2 with Genoa, also remained unbeaten.

Inter, Sampdoria and Verona all have eight points, four behind Juve and Roma. Napoli, who were expected to challenge for the title this season, have four.

Napoli coach Benitez, who has exasperated fans with his rotation of the team, this time left Argentina forward Gonzalo Higuain on the bench.

It did not seem to matter as Kalidou Koulibaly and Duvan Zapata, with a pinpoint curling effort, put them 2-0 ahead after only 11 minutes.

Instead of stamping their authority on the game, Napoli allowed the visitors back into it and Palermo were level within 13 minutes.

Andrea Belotti headed one back for the Sicilians and Franco Vazquez turned in Michel Morganella's as the San Paolo turned restless again.

Napoli, regained their lead when Jose Callejon scored with an angled drive in first-half stoppage time but they failed to finish off the match and Belotti equalised just after the hour from Vazquez's inviting low ball into the area.

"I haven't spoken to the president, but I don't need to talk to him every five minutes to ask if my job is at risk or not at risk," Benitez told reporters. "This team did well before and will do well again.

"I am the coach of a strong team that did well last year and need to get them going again. We must do it together, I will do my part and we must all work together to get the best out of a quality squad."

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