Brilliant Batistuta keeps Fiorentina in the frame

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The Independent Online
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Gabriel Batistuta kept second-placed Fiorentina's Italian league title challenge alive yesterday as he scored two goals and made the other in his team's 3-0 victory over Napoli.

Batistuta took his goal tally for the season to 16, joining Bari's Igor Protti as Serie A's top scorer - first by rifling home a free-kick in the 36th minute and then by rounding off a rapid counter-attack with a clinical finish. The Argentinian set up a third for his striking partner, Francesco Baiano, in the 78th minute, extending Fiorentina's unbeaten run to 13 matches.

Parma, missing the injured Gianfranco Zola, dropped off the pace after a draw at Udinese, and were left to rue second-half headers from Massimo Crippa and Gabriele Pin that both rebounded off the crossbar.

Goals from Giuseppe Signori, Pierluigi Casiraghi and Diego Fuser - together with Luca Marchegiani's first-half penalty save - brought a 3-1 win for Lazio at Padova. There was also a missed penalty at the San Siro for Internazionale's Maurizio Ganz against Atalanta, but it failed to deny the Milan side a 1-0 victory, courtesy of Marco Branca's eighth-minute goal.

Paris St-Germain and Monaco, two of the favourites, were knocked out of the third round of the French Cup on Saturday. PSG, the holders, lost 3-1 at Auxerre while Lille beat Monaco on penalties.

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