Serie A: Title rivals stay in hunt with late winners | sports | Hindustan Times
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Serie A: Title rivals stay in hunt with late winners

sports Updated: Jan 16, 2011 22:03 IST

Lazio, Roma and Juventus all snatched late winners to keep their Serie A title hopes alive on a day of late drama on Sunday.

Libor Kozak struck six minutes from time to earn third-placed Lazio a 1-0 win at home to Sampdoria and draw them level on points with second-placed Napoli, who drew 0-0 with Fiorentina on Saturday.

It also closed them to within three points of leaders AC Milan, who travel to Lecce in the day's late game.

Roma left it even later and needed an own goal a minute from time from Maximiliano Pellegrino to steal a 1-0 success at Cesena.

Juve gave themselves slightly more breathing space as on-loan Liverpool midfielder Alberto Aquilani netted 11 mminutes from the end in a 2-1 defeat of rock-bottom Bari.

Roma closed to five points off Milan with Juve a point further back and two ahead of Inter Milan, 4-1 winners over Bologna on Saturday.

The Serie A title race had looked to be thinning out until the late drama with Milan appearing to be the big winners but now the pressure is back on them to get a result in the south east.

In Rome Christian Ledesma sent over an outswinging free-kick and Kozak darted behind the Samp backline to bag a header from close in.

Roma's winning goal in Cesena was a scrappy affair and owed a lot to persistence and luck.

Substitute Marco Borriello took a ball down on his chest in a crowded box and sent a volley goalwards that crashed back off the bar.

Fellow sub Adriano, who may have been offside when Borriello shot, looked to have a simple tap-in but goalkeeper Francesco Antonioli made a miraculous save with the ball spinning up and seemingly heading out of play.

Simplicio turned the ball back into the danger area, although it looked to have already gone out, where Pellegrino inadvertently prodded it in.

Juventus's goals were very different against Bari.

Veteran Juve forward Alessandro Del Piero had already directed one set piece inches over the bar and forced goalkeeper Jean-Francois Gillet to tip another over when he curled a free-kick into the top corner just before the break.

Edgar Alvarez teed up Gergely Rudolph to equalise after a powerful run down the left.

But Aquilani pounced on a dropping ball to fire home a volley from the edge of the box to take home the three points.

Elsewhere Sicilians Palermo's hopes of qualifying for next season's Champions League suffered a blow as they fell to a 3-1 defeat away to Sardinia's Cagliari in the 'derby of the islands'.

Udinese bagged four goals for the second week in a row as they won 4-2 at Genoa to move into Champions League contention.