Soccer-Napoli's European hopes dimmed by 1-0 loss to Empoli

(Reuters) - Napoli's hopes of playing in European football next season suffered a setback as they endured a frustrating 1-0 defeat at lowly Empoli in Serie A on Saturday.

Empoli, who are battling relegation, scored after four minutes when Alberto Cerri headed in a close-range cross.

In the second half, Napoli pushed forward trying to find an equaliser but failed to create any clear openings.

Napoli are eighth with 49 points, three points off Lazio in sixth, six points behind AS Roma, who are fifth and have two games in hand, and 10 adrift of fourth-placed Bologna, who have played one match fewer than the Naples side.

Serie A is set get at least five spots in an expanded Champions League competition next season.

Empoli are 15th with 31 points, four points clear of the drop zone.

(Reporting by Tommy Lund in Gdansk; editing by Ken Ferris)

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