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Napoli moves provisionally level with Juventus atop Serie A

Associated Press

2/2/2013 5:24:02 PM

ROME -- Napoli moved provisionally level with Juventus atop the Serie A with a 2-0 win over visiting Catania on Saturday, marking the first time in 23 years the southern club is in first place at this point in the season.

Marek Hamsik put Napoli ahead in the 31st minute at San Paolo Stadium with a close-range effort then set up a goal for captain Paolo Cannavaro in the 44th.

Juventus visits Chievo Verona on Sunday.

The last time Napoli stood first at this point in the season was in 1990, when Diego Maradona led the team to its second title in four years. It hasn't won since.

Catania had won three straight.

"It wasn't a simple match against Catania but we attacked from the start," Hamsik said. "We can't think about Juve. ... We've got to keep going match by match and trying to do our best like tonight."

Earlier, Torino and Sampdoria played to 0-0.

Also on Sunday, Mario Balotelli could make his debut for AC Milan against Udinese. Third-place Lazio, which is six points back, visits Genoa.

Napoli trailed Juve by 10 points just a few weeks ago, but it gained two points after a penalty for match-fixing was wiped away on appeal last month, and it has gone six matches unbeaten.

Cannavaro had been suspended for six months for failing to report match-fixing but the ban was also lifted on appeal.

The sanctions stemmed from former Napoli goalkeeper Matteo Gianello confessing last year to attempting to fix the result of a game with Sampdoria three seasons ago.