ROME (AFP) - Napoli’s bid for a first Serie A title since the days of Diego Maradona was further boosted after surviving a late scare against Udinese to claim a 3-2 win, stretching their lead to 11 points.
Luciano Spalletti’s side were cruising to the win after Victor Osimhen, Piotr Zielinski and Eljif Elmas put them three ahead just before the hour mark.
But quickfire strikes from Ilija Nestorovski and Lazar Samardzic left the 50,000 fans at the Stadio Maradona biting their fingernails in the final eight minutes before bellowing their joy at the final whistle.
“Every win comes from hard work and the last 15 minutes show that what this team has achieved so far can’t be taken for granted,” Spalletti told DAZN.
Napoli held on for their 11th straight league win and extended their lead at the top of the table on AC Milan and Lazio, who both play on Sunday.
Spalletti’s team will be at least eight points ahead of the chasing pack once the final round of Serie A matches this year is completed.
They are unbeaten in Italy’s top flight after having dropped just four points in 15 matches, and have scored 37 times -- comfortably the league’s best attack.
Napoli also have the league’s top scorer in Osimhen, whose headed opener from Elmas’s cross was his ninth of the league campaign and eighth in as many games in all competitions since returning from injury a month ago.
No team in the league has managed to consistently play their brand of forward-thinking football and when Serie A reconvenes in early January they will be big favourites to win their first league title since 1990.