Naples: Giacomo Raspadori made Napoli the interim leaders of Serie A with a second-half winner in Saturday’s 1-0 home victory over Spezia.
AC Milan closed the gap on the leaders after winning 2-1 at Sampdoria late in the evening, despite playing with 10 men for most of the second half.
In Napoli, Italian forward Raspadori scored the decisive goal in the final minute of a hard-fought match at the Stadio Maradona to put Luciano Spalletti’s side one ahead of Atalanta.
The 22-year-old, who arrived on loan from Sassuolo last month, scored his first goal for Napoli in his second start, hitting Harving Lozano’s cross at home.
Raspadori told DAZN, “It’s a moment that sticks in your mind and heart.
“I missed two chances that I should have scored, but thankfully the team put me in a position to score so I could stay focused.”
Raspadori is one of three contracts Napoli have won in quick succession shortly after the season started, along with Giovanni Simeone and Tanguy Ndombele.
He led the attack at least until after the international break after starting striker Victor Osimén was sidelined.
Napoli, who will lose the top spot if Atalanta beat promoted Cremona on Sunday afternoon, will make his contract permanent next summer if they achieve an unannounced sporting goal.
They are in top form after a strong start to the domestic season and a defeat to Liverpool in the Champions League opener mid-week.
They move to Rangers on Tuesday ahead of next weekend’s first true title test against AC Milan at San Siro.
Spezia are in 14th place with five points after suffering their third defeat in the first six games of the season.
In Genoa, Rafael León’s miscontrol set up Junior Messias to give the visitors the lead after just six minutes.
Ten minutes later, Leo received a yellow card for raising his elbow. Two minutes into the second half, he received one more when he attempted an overhead kick and caught Sampdoria centre-back Alex Ferrari’s face.
Ferrari ended the match with a white bandage wrapped around his head.
Against ten men, the initiative was easily swung to Sampdoria. Filip Djulicic equalized in the 57th minute with a near-post header past Milan goalkeeper Mike Mainan.
Milan fought back ten minutes later. Olivier Giroud’s header was turned off by Gonzalo Villar after a corner kick. The Frenchman padded his kick with a penalty.
Sampdoria applied desperate pressure in the closing stages but failed to score. Frustrated coach Marco Giampaolo received a red card for an altercation on the touchline in stoppage time, leaving the team in 18th place with two points from six games.
Another second-half goal from Marcel Brozovic gave Inter Milan a 1-0 victory over Turin, a relief from their recent slump.
Simone Inzaghi’s side faced another disappointing result at San Siro after losing last weekend’s derby to AC Milan and taking lessons from Bayern Munich mid-week.
Croatian midfielder Vanja Milinkovic Savic, who briefly pushed Inter to third place, finished in a spectacular way following an inswing cross from Nicolò Barella.
“We’ve faced difficulties, but this win is very important. It’s a win for all of us, everyone who supports Inter,” Brozovic told DAZN.
The defeat was tough for 7th place Torino. Torino played well and Samir he forced Handanovic to make his two good saves when the scores were still the same.