Mertens saves Napoli from defeat in 3-3 draw at Fiorentina

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ROME (AP) — Federico Bernardeschi did his best impression of Lionel Messi and it still wasn't enough for Fiorentina to beat visiting Napoli and the seemingly unstoppable Dries Mertens.

A last-minute penalty from Manolo Gabbiadini — in what was likely his last match for Napoli — earned the Partenopei a 3-3 draw on Thursday.

"We've got to be content with a point if we score in the last minute," Mertens said.

Bernardeschi had scored two goals and set up another with a long, vertical pass for Mauro Zarate's volley to put Fiorentina ahead 3-2 when Mertens earned the penalty three minutes into added time.

Roma, which beat visiting Chievo Verona 3-1, went into the Serie A holiday break in second place, four points behind Juventus and three ahead of third-placed Napoli.

Juventus meets AC Milan in the Italian Super Cup in Doha, Qatar, on Friday.

Lorenzo Insigne had put Napoli ahead midway through the first half with a long shot — giving him five goals plus an assist in his last six Serie A matches.

Bernardeschi, the 22-year-old Italy international, then equalized with a free kick that deflected in off Jose Callejon in Napoli's wall.

In the 68th, Mertens took the ball off Fiorentina defender Nenad Tomovic and scored from a sharp angle to put Napoli up 2-1 and raise his tally to eight goals in the past three matches.

Bernardeschi equalized again with a long shot inside the far post past outstretched Napoli goalkeeper Pepe Reina, and then put a long pass right at the feet of Zarate for a go-ahead volley with eight minutes remaining.

But Mertens then prompted Carlos Salcedo to step on him and set up the penalty, which Gabbiadini only barely managed to slip in under goalkeeper Ciprian Tatarusanu.

"I had given everything already so I let Gabbiadini take it," Mertens said.

With Mertens having taken over at center forward and Arkadiusz Milik due back from injury soon, Napoli is looking to sell Gabbiadini.



Roma rallied from a goal down to remain perfect at home with nine wins in nine matches this season at the Stadio Olimpico.

After Roma midfielder Bruno Peres hit the post, Jonathan de Guzman took advantage of poor defense by Peres to put Chievo ahead with a header.

Stephan El Shaarawy equalized with a free kick in first-half added time, Edin Dzeko scored his 13th of the season shortly after the break and Diego Perotti added a penalty in stoppage time.



Italy forward Andrea Belotti scored his 13th of the season as Torino beat Genoa 1-0.

Genoa forward Pietro Pellegri matched the record of the youngest player ever to appear in Serie A at 15 years, 280 days, when he came on for the final three minutes. Amedeo Amadei was the same age when he made his debut for Roma in 1937.

Also, it was: Cagliari 4, Sassuolo 3; Palermo 1, Pescara 1; and Sampdoria 0, Udinese 0.

The Crotone-Juventus and Bologna-AC Milan matches were postponed to Feb. 8 due to the Super Cup.

Serie A resumes on the weekend of Jan. 7-8.

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