International Soccer - Italy

Juve maintains lead after draw with Napoli

Naples, Italy (Sports Network) - Juventus stayed six points clear at the top of Serie A on Friday after earning a 1-1 draw at second-place Napoli.

Juve took the lead just 10 minutes into the contest through Giorgio Chiellini's header, but his goal was canceled out shortly before halftime by a deflected shot from Gokhan Inler.

The result does more to help the title ambitions of Juve than Napoli, which remains six points adrift of the Old Lady with 11 games to play.

Andrea Pirlo set up the opening goal by creating space on the left wing to deliver a cross to the back post, where Chiellini got up to head the ball home in traffic.

Mirko Vucinic nearly doubled the lead eight minutes later, but Napoli goalkeeper Morgan De Sanctis got just enough of the ball to deflect it past the post.

Inler pulled the home side level shortly before the break when his long-range effort took a slight deflection off of Juve defender Leonardo Bonucci on its way past goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon.

The best chance either side had in the second half came in the 73rd minute when Marek Hamsik's shot was parried by Buffon, leaving a great rebound chance for Blerim Dzemaili, which he fired wide from 10 yards.

In addition to Friday's top-of-the-table clash, AC Milan hosts Lazio in a battle of top-four sides on Saturday.

Lazio holds a two-point edge on the Rossoneri ahead of the contest, but Milan is one of the in-form sides in Italy at the moment with an eight-game unbeaten streak on the line.

One of the players who has helped spark that resurgence is striker Mario Balotelli, but he will miss the game on Saturday because of a knee injury.

The relegation battle has tightened with Palermo earning five draws from its last six games but still remaining on the bottom of the league.

Palermo is still six points from safety, but the club will be facing bottom- half Torino on Sunday with the hopes of finally claiming three needed points.

Cagliari and Bologna tangle at the Renato Della'Ara with both sides a bit above the relegation scrap, while Inter Milan tries to revive its Champions League hopes with a win at Catania.

Fiorentina has moved into sixth place and is in the midst of the fight for a European place. The Viola will host Chievo, while Parma travels to Sampdoria, Siena hosts Atalanta, Udinese invades second-from-the-bottom Pescara and Roma entertains Genoa.

03/01 17:12:20 ET

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