ROME (Reuters) - Napoli survived a spirited fightback from bottom side Crotone to earn a 4-3 win and go fourth in Serie A on Saturday, as the fierce battle for Champions League qualification continued.
Lorenzo Insigne and Victor Osimhen struck for the hosts before Simy pulled one back, but Dries Mertens’ free kick restored Napoli’s two-goal cushion before the break.
The visitors launched a comeback in the second half as Simy prodded in his second before Junior Messias curled in a stunning equaliser in the 59th minute.
Nigeria international Simy’s double continued a superb run of form that makes him the top scorer in Europe’s top-five leagues since the start of March with eight goals.
But the relegation battlers could not hold on as Giovanni Di Lorenzo rifled in a shot to put Gennaro Gattuso’s side back in front after 72 minutes.
Napoli climbed one point above Juventus, who face Torino later on Saturday, into fourth place on 56 points, but they remained two points behind Atalanta in third after the Bergamo club beat Udinese 3-2.
Luis Muriel struck twice in the first half to take his tally to 18 league goals for the season before Udinese’s Roberto Pereyra pulled one back.
Duvan Zapata drilled in the Bergamo side’s third before Luca Gotti’s side reduced the deficit again on the 71st minute through Jens Stryger Larsen.
Lazio clinched a vital win and climbed into sixth place as Felipe Caicedo scored an 88th-minute penalty to beat Spezia 2-1 in Rome.
Manuel Lazzari’s opener was cancelled out by a spectacular bicycle kick from Spezia substitute Daniele Verde before the late spot-kick, but Lazzari and Joaquin Correa were sent off for the home side in stoppage time.
The Roman club moved up to 52 points, one above AS Roma who were held to a 2-2 draw by Sassuolo.
Lorenzo Pellegrini’s penalty edged Roma ahead at halftime in an entertaining game.
Hamed Traore equalised after the break before Bruno Peres restored the visitors’ advantage, but Giacomo Raspadori fired home an equaliser for Sassuolo five minutes from time.
Elsewhere, relegation battlers Benevento and Parma played out a 2-2 draw, Hellas Verona went seventh with a 2-0 win at Cagliari and Franck Ribery was sent off during Fiorentina’s 1-1 draw at Genoa on Giuseppe Iachini's return as Viola coach.
(Reporting by Alasdair Mackenzie, editing by Ed Osmond)