© Getty Images (representational image)
Gonzalo Higuain scored his 25th goal of this season © Getty Images (representational image)

Milan: Gonzalo Higuain claimed his 25th Serie A goal of the season as Napoli maintained their title push with a thrilling 1-1 draw at Fiorentina. Napoli were under the cosh after champions Juventus stretched their lead at the top of the table to four points with a 2-0 win over hapless Inter Milan on Sunday. But despite pushing La Viola hard in a thrilling encounter at the Artemio Franchi, a share of the spoils against a Fiorentina side yesterday that looks worthy of a top three finish to qualify for next season’s Champions League left Napoli with no complaints.

Napoli remained in second place at three points behind Juventus, with Roma and Fiorentina both five points further adrift in third and fourth places respectively. Fiorentina coach Paolo Sousa underlined his side’s Champions League hopes on Sunday and after just six minutes they were in front when Marcos Alonso rose above the Napoli defence at a corner to send a glancing header past Pepe Reina.

But Alonso went from hero to zero in a matter of seconds. From the subsequent kick-off that had all the hallmarks of a set-piece, Kalidou Koulibaly promptly fired a high punt into the Fiorentina area. It forced ‘keeper Ciprian Tatarusanu rushing out of his net, but when Alonso’s first-time clearance failed spectacularly, the ball fell to Higuain, who had little trouble guiding the ball into the back of the net from 30 yards.

Having failed to score for three weeks, including two league games and two Europe League games, and come under criticism from club president Aurelio De Laurentiis for being “overweight”, the Argentinian’s exuberant celebrations were perhaps understandable.