Napoli head coach Walter Mazzarri has stressed a Champions League place is still attainable for the Serie A title-holders as they prepare to host Hellas Verona on Sunday.

After winning a first Scudetto in 33 years last season under Luciano Spalletti, the Partenopei have had a significant drop off in a 2023-24 campaign that saw new boss Rudi Garcia replaced by Mazzarri in November.

Their nine league games since then have comprised three wins, two draws and four losses, and they are currently ninth in the table, four points behind fourth place.

Asked at a press conference if the Champions League spots remained a realistic objective for Napoli, Mazzarri said: “I don’t look at the table for my own reasons.

“But it’s clear that there are many teams within three to four points, and therefore the objective is possible.”

Since starting the calendar year with a 3-0 loss at Torino, Napoli – still without star striker Victor Osimhen due to international duty with Nigeria at the Africa Cup of Nations – have won 2-1 at home against Salernitana, beaten Fiorentina 3-0, lost 1-0 to AC Milan in the Supercoppa Italiana and drawn 0-0 at Lazio in their return to league action last weekend.

Mazzarri said: “In the last few games we created little, for various reasons, also due to the strength of the opponents, but we returned solid and balanced, after the very bad performance in Torino.

“It’s clear that we will need to be more aggressive and proactive to create scoring opportunities, perhaps even shooting from outside, because we can’t always enter the area with triangles and penetrations.

“This week we are also working on this aspect and I think we will see the results.”

Napoli face a Verona outfit who went into the weekend just outside the relegation zone, and who brought in a trio of players on transfer deadline day – Stefan Mitrovic, Karol Swiderski and Fabien Centonze.

Boss Marco Baroni told a press conference ahead of the trip to Stadio Diego Armando Maradona: “We need points, but we have to start from the performance.

“These are complicated and difficult stadiums, where we must not be afraid. We will have to play a match of personality, having great respect for the opponent.

“These are teams against which you have to be very careful within the performance. We will need to be compact, focused, and help each other on the pitch.”

Gianluigi Buffon believes Italy should be confident of going far at Euro 2024, despite being drawn into a difficult-looking group.

Reigning European champions Italy were placed into Group B during Saturday's draw in Hamburg.

That means Luciano Spalletti's team, who rather scraped through in qualifying, will go up against heavyweights Spain, 2022 World Cup semi-finalists Croatia and Albania.

While acknowledging the draw might have been kinder, former Italy stalwart Buffon – the most-capped player in his nation's history – was bullish about the Azzurri's chances.

"It was wonderful putting that trophy back in the circle, as we feel pride and responsibility going into this competition as reigning champions," Buffon told RAI Sport, as reported by Football Italia.

"Seeing as we were in pot four, a tough draw was always going to be probable.

"This group is a bit like the one we had at Euro 2012 with Spain, Croatia and the Republic of Ireland. We went through second and reached the final.

"In the format this time, the four best third-placed sides qualify too, so that increases our chances. We are concerned, but the other teams won’t be jumping for joy at drawing Italy either.

"There will be time until June for this team to improve. In terms of individuals, there are three or four teams in the competition who have stronger squads, but when we are working as a single unit, with one mind, I don't know how many teams are really stronger than us."

Italy will open their campaign against Albania on June 15 in Dortmund, before facing Spain five days later and Croatia on June 24.

Coach Spalletti echoed Buffon's sentiments, albeit perhaps not with quite as much confidence.

"It could've gone better, but then we were in pot four. And never forget that we are Italy," he told RAI Sport.

"Anyone who loves this sport must enjoy the challenge, otherwise you lose all the pleasure of it.

"Within a match there are going to be various moments where the squad has to defend, even with 10 men around the edge of the box if necessary, but the intention is always to play attractive and attacking football."

Luciano Spalletti is confident reigning continental champions Italy will seize the “right moment” to get the point they need to qualify for Euro 2024 from their showdown with rivals Ukraine in Leverkusen.

The second-placed Azzurri will join Group C winners England in reaching the finals on Monday if they can avoid defeat by Ukraine, who are playing this match in west Germany due to the conflict with Russia in their homeland, as they lead Serhiy Rebrov’s men on goal difference having won the first meeting 2-1 in Milan back in September.

Only a draw in North Macedonia and a 3-1 loss to England left Italy in this vulnerable position as their other results – 4-0 against Malta and 5-2 in Friday’s reverse against the Macedonians – have been more than convincing, and boss Spalletti was also in good form when previewing the crunch BayArena clash.

“The lads are well,” he told reporters. “There’s quality in every department and the potential is great.

“We go to Germany with the knowledge that we can get a result. Some important players have joined back up with us, like (Federico) Chiesa, who know how to make the difference, and we’ve got to know some new elements that can take this national side forward in the future.

“Our attitude must be to play the game the way we have prepared and spoken about it, not only from this week but since we started working together.”

Italy are unbeaten in their last nine meetings with Ukraine yet Spalletti nevertheless pointed to threats like Oleksandr Zinchenko and Mykhailo Mudryk.

“They are strong and powerful in attack,” he warned. “They have players who are in good form in the leagues they play in.

“We’ll have to play as a team and give everything we have. The magnitude of the game tells us that we need to go beyond our capabilities; we want to steal Italians’ hearts and this is the right moment to do it.

“It’s the game to take that step up in quality that allows you to work with more ease.

“We so desperately want this qualification. There have been some difficult moments, but we have earned the right to be in this position. We just need to think about getting a result without having to rely on others.”

Since suffering the San Siro setback Ukraine have won qualifiers against North Macedonia and Malta by two-goal margins to match Italy on 13 points before Monday’s decider.

Former Tottenham striker Rebrov will have Chelsea’s Mudryk back following injury, with Bournemouth defender Illya Zabarnyi and Vitaliy Mykolenko of Everton marshalling the backline.

Girona hotshot Artem Dovbyk will lead the line in Leverkusen, with Italy likely to stick with the strikeforce that thumped North Macedonia last time out: Giacomo Raspadori and Domenico Berardi will link up with Juventus star Chiesa. Davide Frattesi, meanwhile, could come in for Arsenal playmaker Jorginho.

Rudi Garcia is determined to hit AC Milan when they are down and relaunch Napoli’s Serie A title defence.

A rocky start to the season saw the Partenopei fall well short of expectations and critics of new head coach Garcia’s approach did not take long to make their voices heard.

But three league wins from four have thrust Napoli right back into contention and a home win against second-placed Milan, whose bubble has been burst by consecutive defeats to Juventus and Paris St Germain, could lift them to third.

“We have this home match against one of our direct rivals and it’s one we really want to win,” Garcia told reporters.

“There’s a good atmosphere in the camp. We’ve had a decent run of results but we know that if we really want to move up the table we need to keep winning back-to-back games.

“We want victory at home especially because we have the help of our fans after two wins on the road.”

Milan were one of the few sides to get the better of Luciano Spalletti’s Napoli last season, memorably winning 4-0 at Stadio Diego Armando Maradona as the hosts were trying to rubber-stamp their Scudetto.

“It will be a different game to last season,” Garcia said. “People keep saying this Napoli team is different to the one from last season so this game against Milan will be different too.”

Rossoneri boss Stefano Pioli, meanwhile, is demanding an instant response to last weekend’s San Siro reverse against Juve and a 3-0 humiliation at PSG in the Champions League on Wednesday.

He said at a press conference: “The team is hungry to turn things around.

“For the first time this season, we’ve lost two in a row in two big games and tomorrow we have another one.

“We’ll need to show that we have the quality to be a consistent side. We have to keep at it for 95 minutes against teams like this.

“We must live in the present; we’ve made mistakes and got results that we didn’t want. We have the chance in Naples to put in a better performance and show that we’re better.

“Garcia is a great coach. He had issues at the start – which is normal – but now they’re playing well and creating a lot.

“We need to be aware of Khvicha Kvaratskhelia because he can hurt you one-on-one. We’ll try to be alert.”

Gareth Southgate says facing “revitalised” Italy will be a great test of where England are at as they attempt to seal European Championship qualification with two matches to spare.

The Euro 2020 runners-up can wrap up their place at next summer’s finals in Germany in Tuesday evening’s mouthwatering Group C clash against the Azzurri at a sold-out Wembley.

It will be the nations’ fourth meeting since Italy beat England on spot-kicks in the Euros final just over two years ago but their first reunion under the arch, with their previous meetings coming in Wolverhampton, Milan and Naples.

The Azzurri return to Wembley a far different side from when they became continental champions there, with Luciano Spalletti in charge of a new-look team that host Malta on Saturday evening before heading to London.

“Italy look revitalised under Spalletti,” Southgate said. “They were excellent against Ukraine last month. They’re a top-10 nation.

“We’ve talked about these top-10 games and the importance of them, the challenge of them.

“We have the chance to qualify for the European Championships with two games to spare.

“But also it’s a great test of where we are as a team and, yeah, it’s a challenge we’re really looking forward to.”

The Euro 2024 qualifier completes England’s October doubleheader at Wembley after securing an unconvincing 1-0 friendly win against unfancied Australia on Friday.

Returning Ollie Watkins secured Southgate’s much-changed side victory against the surprisingly dangerous Socceroos on a night when stand-in skipper Jordan Henderson was booed off the field.

The England boss defended the Al-Ettifaq midfielder and felt his experience was key having taken a risk by making 10 alterations in an experimental line-up against the Aussies.

“I don’t think it was a win because of how we played,” Southgate said. “We had enough quality on the pitch to be able to create a couple of important moments.

“But we know that all the changes, the inexperience of the team, made it was really tough for the players that played. I set them a really difficult challenge.

“It was great that they got the win. It was important to keep winning because if we if we lose the game or you give a goal away at the end then you leave here on a bit of a low. It sets the game up now with Italy.

“In the end, it’s very hard to prepare the squad when they know ultimately this week really is about the Italy game and it’s impossible to dress that up any other way.

“But for the players that played, for some of them their Wembley debut, for some of them their England debut. Massively important nights for them.”

Arsenal striker Eddie Nketiah made his England debut as a second-half substitute against Australia, while versatile Chelsea defender Levi Colwill made his bow from the start.

“Important first steps for them,” Southgate said of the debutants.

“I mean, Levi is a young defender. We know he’s not a left-back first choice, but he’s filling that slot for his club.

“What we tried to do is start with a team where everybody was pretty much in the roles they’re playing with their clubs, so that it was as smooth as it could be.

“But in the knowledge that we didn’t have a lot of caps on the field, we didn’t have a lot of leadership.

“Normally, we’d be putting one or two of those lads in with a lot more experience and a lot more continuity, so it was extremely hard for that group of players.”

Southgate came away from a challenging friendly pleased with a number of individual displays, highlighting Trent Alexander-Arnold’s problem-solving as he learns more about being a midfielder.

Matchwinner Watkins’ movement and positioning was praised after scoring on his first England appearance since March 2022, while Lewis Dunk’s development continues to impress his boss.

The Brighton defender won his third cap in central defence alongside Fikayo Tomori, who was replaced by John Stones in the 62nd minute as he continues his recovery from a hip issue.

“Thirty minutes for John Stones was very important for us, to get him onto the pitch,” Southgate said of the Manchester City defender, who made his first Premier League appearance last weekend.

“We’re managing that recovery carefully, we’re combining really well with his club on all of that.

“But he’s a world-class player, and it was great to get him up and running.”

North Macedonia fought back to draw 1-1 with Italy in their Euro 2024 Group C qualifier and deny new Azzurri boss Luciano Spalletti a win in his first match in charge.

Spalletti took over following the sudden resignation of Roberto Mancini last month and inherited a side which had already lost to England in their opening fixture.

Ciro Immobile broke the deadlock two minutes into the second half when he headed in a rebound after Nicolo Barella’s volley struck the crossbar.

North Macedonia – who beat Italy in the 2022 World Cup play-offs – got back on level terms with nine minutes left through a fine free-kick from captain Enis Bardhi.

The draw left Italy third in the group, but having played only three matches so far because of their Nations League campaign.

Earlier, leaders England were held to a 1-1 draw by Ukraine in Wroclaw, Poland.

Arsenal midfielder Oleksandr Zinchenko opened the scoring in the 26th minute, sparking wild celebrations from the estimated 40,000 Ukraine fans at the Tarczynski Arena.

England equalised just before the break when captain Harry Kane picked out Kyle Walker on the overlap down the right for the Manchester City defender to score a first international goal in his 77th appearance.

Belgium won 1-0 in Azerbaijan to move top of Group F.

Yannick Carrasco deflected a long-range shot from Johan Bakayoko past the wrong-footed Azerbaijan goalkeeper in the 38th minute, which proved enough for all three points to put the Red Devils above Austria on goal difference.

Newcastle forward Alexander Isak was among the scorers as Sweden ran out 5-0 winners in Estonia to sit four points off the top two.

Switzerland missed the chance to extend their lead at the top of Group I after Kosovo fought back to draw 2-2 in Pristina

Bologna midfielder Remo Freuler put the Swiss ahead in the 14th minute, before Vedat Muriqi equalised midway through the second half.

Freuler looked to have secured three points when his deflected effort went in off defender Amir Rrahmani with 11 minutes left, but Mallorca forward Muriqi struck again in added time.

Romania remain second, two points off Switzerland, after Israel came from behind to draw 1-1 in Bucharest, while it finished goalless between Andorra and Belarus.

Victor Osimhen reached another milestone as Napoli concluded their Scudetto-winning campaign with a 2-0 victory over Serie A's bottom side Sampdoria.

Osimhen sealed the Capocannoniere with his second-half penalty taking his tally for the Serie A campaign to 26 goals, while it was also his 50th overall in the competition.

Substitute Giovanni Simeone's wonderful individual effort secured victory as the Partonopei lifted the Serie A trophy at Stadio Diego Armando Maradona, where Luciano Spalletti was overseeing his final match in charge before taking a year-long sabbatical.

The Partenopei finished their memorable season on 90 points, their second-highest tally in Serie A – having collected one more under Maurizio Sarri five years ago.

Napoli created the first opportunity inside three minutes when Khvicha Kvaratskhelia fed Piotr Zielinski, who fired over from a tight angle.

At the other end, two former Partenopei players almost combined to thwart their old club, but Fabio Quagliarella squandered a great opportunity by heading Manolo Gabbiadini's inviting cross wide from inside the six yard box.

Koray Gunter produced a wonderful last-ditch intervention to deny Eljif Elmas a clear sight on goal after Osimhen had neatly cushioned a lofted ball into his team-mate's path.

Sampdoria went close after the break when substitute Lorenzo Malagrida shot straight at Alex Meret, but the hosts broke through in the 64th minute.

After Nicola Murru brought him down in the penalty area, Osimhen picked himself up and confidently swept the spot-kick into the bottom-right corner.

Martin Turk denied Frank Anguissa and Gianluca Gaetano with smart reflex saves, but was helpless when Simeone arrowed a stunning 25-yard effort into the top corner to seal the points five minutes from time.

Napoli manager Luciano Spalletti is set to leave the club after guiding them to their first Serie A title in 33 years.

President Aurelio De Laurentiis said that the 64-year-old, who took over the Partenopei in 2021, has asked to take a sabbatical and will leave the club with a year left on his contract.

“He’s a free man, now it’s right that he continues to do what he wants. I thank him,” De Laurentiis told Italian broadcaster Rai as reported by Sky Italy.

Napoli clinched their first title since 1990, when Diego Maradona led them to the Scudetto, with five games to spare.

Spalletti’s final game in charge is set to be at home to Sampdoria next Sunday.

Reports in Italy suggest Napoli will attempt to bring in former Barcelona and Spain head coach Luis Enrique to replace Spalletti.

A number of their star players such as top scorer Victor Osimhen and centre-back Kim Min-jae have been linked with moves away from Naples this summer, with a host of Premier League clubs among those reportedly interested.

Napoli manager Luciano Spalletti is set to leave the club after guiding them to their first Serie A title in 33 years.

President Aurelio De Laurentiis said that the 64-year-old, who took over the Partenopei in 2021, has asked to take a sabbatical and will leave the club with a year left on his contract.

“He’s a free man, now it’s right that he continues to do what he wants. I thank him,” De Laurentiis told Italian broadcaster Rai as reported by Sky Italy.

Napoli clinched their first title since 1990, when Diego Maradona led them to the Scudetto, with five games to spare.

Spalletti’s final game in charge is set to be at home to Sampdoria next Sunday.

Reports in Italy suggest Napoli will attempt to bring in former Barcelona and Spain head coach Luis Enrique to replace Spalletti.

A number of their star players such as top scorer Victor Osimhen and centre-back Kim Min-jae have been linked with moves away from Naples this summer, with a host of Premier League clubs among those reportedly interested.

Napoli squandered a two-goal lead as Lorenzo De Silvestri snatched a 2-2 draw for Bologna against the Serie A champions, who appear set to lose Scudetto-winning coach Luciano Spalletti.  

Spalletti said a decision has been made on his Napoli future before kick-off, with many expecting the Partenopei boss to depart, yet his side initially appeared far from distracted at Stadio Renato Dall'Ara.

Victor Osimhen seized on an early Lukasz Skorupski mistake to open the scoring before doubling his – and Napoli's – tally after 54 minutes with a powerful finish across goal.

However, Lewis Ferguson halved the arrears just past the hour before De Silvestri headed home with six minutes remaining, and only the offside flag denied Nicola Sansone a late winner as Napoli were forced to cling on. 

A terrible pass from Bologna goalkeeper Skorupski gifted Napoli their 14th-minute opener as Osimhen intercepted on the edge of the area and finished into an empty net.

Skorupski somewhat made amends by thwarting both Osimhen and Alessio Zerbin as Napoli threatened to extend their lead before the break.

Marko Arnautovic skimmed a rare Bologna chance across the face of an empty goal after the interval before Osimhen furthered Napoli's advantage.

The Napoli striker rolled onto Bartosz Bereszynski's delicate throughball before firing through the legs of Skorupski.

An unmarked Ferguson pulled one back shortly thereafter, tapping in a rebound after Pierluigi Gollini saved from Sansone, who subsequently assisted De Silvestri's headed equaliser with a delightful corner.

Sansone then thought he had snatched a late victory with a one-on-one finish, only to be denied by a belated offside flag. 

Late goals from Giovanni Di Lorenzo and Gianluca Gaetano guided Serie A champions Napoli to a 3-1 win over 10-man Inter, denting the Nerazzurri's bid for a top-four finish.

Simone Inzaghi named a much-changed team with one eye on Wednesday's Coppa Italia final against Fiorentina, and Inter's task was made more difficult when Roberto Gagliardini was dismissed after picking up two first-half bookings.

Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa broke Inter's resistance when he fired home on the turn, but Romelu Lukaku looked to have stolen a point with a close-range finish eight minutes from time.

Napoli were determined to continue their Scudetto celebrations with another win, however, Di Lorenzo firing into the top-left corner before Gaetano struck on the break to leave Inter vulnerable in the top-four battle.

Serie A champions Napoli slipped to a shock defeat on Sunday as Monza claimed a deserved 2-0 win against the Partenopei at Stadio Brianteo.

Goals from Dany Mota and Napoli loanee Andrea Petagna handed Luciano Spalletti's men just their fourth top-flight loss of the season, dampening their ongoing title celebrations.

Spalletti opted for a handful of changes against mid-table opposition, and will have expected more from his men despite the low-stakes nature of this clash.

But for Raffaele Palladino, his Biancorossi will nevertheless delight in taking one of the biggest scalps of their successful first campaign in the top flight.

With Napoli already champions and Monza secure in their Serie A place for next season, a lacklustre dead rubber appeared to be on the cards in the first quarter-hour.

But a shrewd counter-attack from the hosts sparked matters into life shortly afterwards, with Mota taking full advantage of a disjointed defence to tuck home the opener.

The visitors chased a response, with Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa forcing a cracking save from Michele Di Gregorio just before the break, but Napoli were left trailing at the interval.

Matters worsened following the restart, when Petagna darted into the box to seize on a rebound and curl a shot beyond Pierluigi Gollini, finding the bottom-left corner.

Napoli continued to test Monza, but efforts from Mathias Olivera and Khvicha Kvaratskhelia were ably saved, while Victor Osimhen saw a penalty shout waved away.

Napoli's inability to find a way back in saw them suffer a rare reverse, in what fans will hope was merely a hangover from their Scudetto success.

Victor Osimhen saw one penalty saved before scoring another as Napoli marked their Scudetto celebrations with a 1-0 win against Fiorentina amid a carnival atmosphere.

Having ended a 33-year wait to win Serie A on Thursday, Luciano Spalletti's men were greeted by a jubilant crowd at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona, but two much-changed lineups made for a low-key opening. 

Osimhen thought he had missed the Partenopei's best chance for victory when he had a second-half spot-kick saved by Pietro Terracciano, but a foul on Khvicha Kvaratskhelia gave him the chance to atone.

Serie A's top goalscorer hammered home at the second time of asking, ensuring Napoli's long-awaited Scudetto party was capped with three points.

Fiorentina gave Napoli a pre-match guard of honour, but they were determined not to extend similar levels of hospitality after kick-off, Luka Jovic heading narrowly over early on.

Eljif Elmas shot wide as Napoli – who started with Kvaratskhelia and Stanislav Lobotka on the bench – were slow to click into gear.

Jovic went close again when his deft header was turned away by Pierluigi Gollini, before Osimhen fired into the side netting from a tight angle as half-time approached.

Both Kvaratskhelia and Lobotka were introduced as Napoli looked to step things up, and the latter had an immediate impact when he tempted Sofyan Amrabat into a clumsy foul after the restart, handing Osimhen his first spot-kick. 

Osimhen was denied on this occasion as Terracciano pushed his effort around the left-hand post, but he was to get another chance with 16 minutes left.

Nicolas Gonzalez tripped Kvaratskhelia as he darted into the area, and Osimhen made no mistake second time around, blasting into the roof of the net.

Christian Kouame missed Fiorentina's best chance to level when he lifted over late on, ensuring the champions clung on.

Napoli failed to secure their first Serie A title since 1990 after being held to a 1-1 draw at home to Salernitana.

Luciano Spalletti’s side were handed the chance to win the Scudetto with a record six games to go after Lazio’s 3-1 defeat at Inter Milan, where substitute Lautaro Martinez scored twice to help Inter come from behind with three goals in the last 13 minutes.

And they were on course for the win required when Mathias Olivera headed home a 62nd-minute corner, only for Boulaye Dia to equalise with a curling left-footed shot six minutes from time.

Napoli need just two points from their last six games to win the title and could be crowned champions before their next game at Udinese on Thursday if other results go their way.

Lazio remain second in the table after Juventus could only manage a 1-1 draw at Bologna in the day’s late game, while Fiorentina earlier thrashed bottom side Sampdoria 5-0.

Ligue 1 leaders Paris St Germain were booed off after suffering a 3-1 defeat at home to Lorient.

Enzo Le Fee put the visitors in front after 15 minutes and PSG were reduced to 10 men just five minutes later when Achraf Hakimi was sent off for two bookable offences.

Kylian Mbappe equalised in bizarre circumstances when Lorient goalkeeper Yvon Mvogo incorrectly thought a free-kick had been awarded and rolled the ball in front of him, allowing Mbappe to take a touch before scoring into an empty net.

The furious protests of Lorient’s players fell on deaf ears but they had the last laugh as Darlin Yongwa restored their lead shortly before half-time and Bamba Dieng scored a late third just minutes after having a goal ruled out by VAR for offside.

Marseille closed to within five points of PSG after coming from behind to beat Auxerre 2-1.

Birama Toure fired the visitors in front shortly after the half-hour mark, but Cengiz Under equalised on 75 minutes and Alexis Sanchez grabbed the winner just two minutes later.

Monaco’s hopes of Champions League qualification suffered a blow as they were thrashed 4-0 at home by Montpellier, Arnaud Nordin scoring twice for the visitors who are now 11 points clear of the relegation zone.

A 4-2 defeat at Rennes saw Angers relegated to Ligue 2 and Troyes look set to join them after a 1-0 home defeat to Nice left them 10 points from safety.

In Germany’s Bundesliga, Bayern Munich beat bottom side Hertha Berlin 2-0 to move top of the table.

Thomas Tuchel’s side took advantage of Borussia Dortmund being held to a 1-1 draw at Bochum on Friday, with Serge Gnabry opening the scoring on 69 minutes and Kingsley Coman doubling the home side’s lead 10 minutes later.

In the day’s other game, Jonas Wind scored twice as Wolfsburg beat Mainz 3-0, with all three goals coming in the first half an hour.

Atletico Madrid closed to within two points of second-placed Real Madrid in LaLiga courtesy of a 5-2 win at Real Valladolid.

The visitors raced into a 3-0 lead inside 38 minutes before being pegged back by a Cyle Larin penalty and Sergio Escudero’s 74th-minute strike, but an own goal from Joaquin Fernandez and Memphis Depay’s stoppage-time goal secured all three points.

Cadiz leapfrogged Valencia in the table with a 2-1 win over their fellow strugglers, but Getafe missed the chance to do likewise and get out of the relegation zone as they lost 1-0 at Espanyol.

Luciano Spalletti apologised to Napoli supporters for missing the chance to seal the Scudetto in front of their home fans on Sunday.

The Partenopei seemed on course to secure their first league title in 33 years after Mathias Olivera headed Napoli into the lead in the second half against Salernitana at Stadio Diego Armando Maradona.

Lazio's 3-1 defeat earlier in the day at Inter meant a win would have been enough for Napoli, yet just as celebrations were starting in and around the stadium, Boulaye Dia snatched a 1-1 draw for Salernitana with a stunning 84th-minute equaliser.

Napoli could still clinch the title as soon as Wednesday if Lazio fail to beat Sassuolo, but Spalletti acknowledged his side had let their supporters down with the late concession.

The Napoli coach told DAZN: "We are very sorry for not giving the happiness [of winning the title] to this wonderful crowd.

"We represent what their dream is. It is right that they receive this dream they have. We are the ones who materialise the dreams of our fans.

"We have to score this extra goal to give it to them. From my point of view, the enjoyment is only delayed because I am very comfortable with the current standings.

"We postpone it for now but it is a lengthening of the celebrations because I am convinced we will get the two points [to win the league]."

Their surely imminent Scudetto triumph would mark Napoli's first such success since the Diego Maradona era.

Khvicha Kvaratskhelia and Victor Osimhen have led the way for the Partenopei on their quest for glory, but Spalletti emphasised the importance of his squad this term.

"It's clear that if it [winning the title] were to happen, I'd have some satisfaction too," he added. "But the players deserve it more because I've seen the attention, willingness and quality they have come to train.

"I'm referencing those who have played less because they force those who have played the most to keep the bar high and it becomes difficult to become a soft or demotivated team."

Napoli sit 18 points clear and could wrap up the title when they face Udinese on Thursday, albeit the championship could be settled a day earlier if Lazio falter against Sassuolo.

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