ROME, March 17 (Xinhua) -- Edison Cavani scored a brace as Napoli edged a nervy 3-2 win over Atalanta on Sunday and narrowed the gap between them and the Serie A leaders Juventus to nine points.
Cavani ended his own six-week goal drought with an early penalty to hand the initiative to his side, who had failed to win in five games and risked surrendering second spot to AC Milan.
Paolo Cannavaro conceded an own-goal, and Cavani was relieved to have doubled up just before German Denis levelled the tie once again midway through the second half. Goran Pandev then pounced in the final 10 minutes to keep the southerners within nine points of leaders Juventus and two points clear of third-placed Milan.
Napoli head coach Walter Mazzarri urged his side not to drop further points.
"We are not already thinking about the game with Milan. We had the same discussions before the Juventus match and then we dropped points against Udinese and Sampdoria, so we have to take it one game at a time," he said.
Two goals from Mario Balotelli paced AC Milan to a 2-0 victory over struggling Palermo. Milan did not appear to be too disheartened by their midweek Champions League thrashing at Barcelona as Balotelli fired his sixth goal in Rossoneri colors from the penalty spot.
Balotelli's close-range second guaranteed an 11th league game without defeat for Massimiliano Allegri's men.
Palermo, meanwhile, took one more step towards relegation as returning head coach Giuseppe Sannino failed to deliver a first win in 16 attempts for the Sicilians, who remain joint last with Pescara.
Milan boss Massimiliano Allegri claimed Mario Balotelli is "an excellent professional" and have the best chance to show his qualities.
"I think this is an important opportunity for Balotelli, as for the first time he is playing as a protagonist in a team full of youngsters," said Allegri.
"He is relaxed and an excellent professional. He has been on the European stage for seven or eight years, but this is his best chance so far to really show his qualities," he said.
Fiorentina needed a Mattia Cassani own-goal to fend off a double fightback from 10-man Genoa and claim a 3-2 victory at the Stadio Artemio Franchi.
The result allowed Fiorentina to stay in touch with third-placed AC Milan and out of the reach of Inter, whose game at Sampdoria was postponed due to heavy rain.
Lazio was upset 1-0 at Torino while their cross-city rivals Roma beat Parma 2-0 at home. A second-half onslaught was not enough for Siena to take all three points against Cagliari, who came closest to breaking the deadlock in a 0-0 draw at the Stadio Artemio Franchi.
Two late goals edged Pescara closer to relegation and boosted Chievo's hopes of staying up as the visitors won 2-0 at the Stadio Adriatico.