Juventus title party on hold as Napoli draws against Genoa

Napoli settled for a frustrating draw against a stubborn Genoa at Stadio San Paolo as Juventus was made to wait for the title.

Dries Mertens scored with a splendid curling finish into the bottom-right corner to give Napoli the lead in the 28th minute.   -  Getty Images

Juventus' title celebrations were delayed for at least a week as Napoli kept its slim Scudetto hopes alive with a 1-1 home draw against a 10-man Genoa.

Dries Mertens' fine first-half finish ensured Carlo Ancelotti's men did enough to temporarily prevent the Bianconeri from being crowned champion for the seventh successive season, but the failure to turn one point into three will be a keen source of frustration.

The host looked set to cruise to victory when Belgium international Mertens broke the deadlock six minutes after Stefano Sturaro's sending off for a crude tackle on Allan. Genoa, though, hit back through Darko Lazovic in the shadows of half-time and battled bravely for a result that lifts it further away from relegation danger.

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Napoli, runners-up to Juve last season, appeared nervous in the early stages as its former forward Goran Pandev threatened on three occasions inside the opening 20 minutes.

Genoa lost momentum when ex-Juve midfielder Sturaro saw red for his late, lunging challenge in the 28th minute and the host took advantage through Mertens' splendid curling finish into the bottom-right corner.

An unexpected twist came three minutes into first-half stoppage time as Lazovic rewarded Genoa's persistence, the 28-year-old volleying home from Pandev's intelligent cross to the far post.

Romania gloveman Radu later denied both Kalidou Koulibaly and Mertens as Napoli's increasingly desperate attempts to manufacture a winner went unrequited.

Its next league assignment is a trip to Chievo in seven days' time, but Juve can wrap up the title before then by winning at struggling SPAL on Saturday.

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