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Napoli approaches Champions League places again

By Andrew Dampf

Associated Press

Published: Saturday, April 21 2012 3:07 p.m. MDT

ROME — Napoli revived its chances of returning to the Champions League with a 2-0 win over Novara on Saturday, while Udinese salvaged a draw to remain in contention as the Serie A resumed a week after Piermario Morosini's death.

Edinson Cavani and Paolo Cannavaro scored first-half goals for Napoli, while Udinese goalkeeper Samir Handanovic saved a penalty in a 0-0 draw at Chievo Verona.

Handanovic dove to his right and blocked Cyril Thereau's spot kick in the 43rd minute, and Chievo was also unlucky when Michael Bradley hit the post with a long shot four minutes in.

Lazio, which on Sunday hosts a Lecce squad battling to avoid relegation, is third, which carries the final Champions League spot.

With six rounds remaining after this weekend, Lazio has 54 points, Udinese 52, Napoli 51, Roma 50 and Inter Milan 48.

Elsewhere, Parma coach Roberto Donadoni got a measure of revenge in a 3-0 win over Cagliari, which fired him before the season began.

Sebastian Giovinco gave Parma the lead in the 24th and Sergio Floccari and Stefano Okaka added penalties in the 73rd and 90th.

Parma moved seven points clear of the drop zone, while Cagliari remained just four points above danger.

Also, Catania beat Atalanta 2-0 with goals from Alejandro Gomez and Felipe Seymour, moving the Sicilian club within two points of Inter.

On Sunday, Juventus hosts Roma looking to protect its one-point lead over AC Milan, which is also at home against Bologna.

Morosini collapsed and died after suffering cardiac arrest during Livorno's match at Pescara in Serie B last weekend, prompting all of last weekend's first-division matches to be canceled.

A minute of silence was held before each of Saturday's matches in Morosini's honor, and there were numerous tributes at stadiums in all divisions.

In Parma, the minute of silence was accompanied by a long applause as a photo of Morosini was posted on the scoreboard and a banner in Parma's yellow and blue said "Ciao Moro."

There was a similar scene in Verona, where Udinese forward Antonio Di Natale had Morosini's No. 25 on his captain's armband. Morosini was on loan from Udinese.

One minute into the match in Naples, referee Daniele Doveri injured his shoulder and he had to be treated inside the changing room, causing a 20-minute delay.

Once the game resumed, Napoli quickly took control and Cavani took advantage of a failed clearance from goalkeeper Alberto Fontana in the 21st. Napoli captain Cannavaro then doubled the lead from close range in the 37th after former teammate Giuseppe Mascara lost control near midfield.

Napoli played in the Champions League this season, its first appearance in the former European Cup since Diego Maradona led the club to Italian titles in 1987 and 1990. The southern club fared well, advancing from a group that featured Bayern Munich, Manchester City and Villarreal, but was eliminated by Chelsea in the second round after squandering a two-goal lead from the first leg.

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