Napoli's Gonzalo Higuain celebrates with teammate Marek HamÅ¡Ãk after scoring during a Serie A soccer match between Napoli and Genoa, at the San Paolo stadium in Naples, Italy, Monday, Jan. 26, 2015. (AP Photo/Salvatore Laporta)
Napoli's Gonzalo Higuain celebrates after scoring during a Serie A soccer match between Napoli and Genoa, at the San Paolo stadium in Naples, Italy, Monday, Jan. 26, 2015. (AP Photo/Salvatore Laporta)
ROME — Napoli moved back into third place in Serie A courtesy of a controversial penalty in a 2-1 win over visiting Genoa on Monday.
In the 73rd minute at the San Paolo stadium, the referee ruled that Gonzalo Higuain was fouled following a free kick despite what appeared to be minimal contact. After Genoa protested, Higuain converted the ensuing spot kick for his 12th goal this season.
Higuain had also scored the opener seven minutes in by heading in a rebound. Iago Falque equalized in the 56th with a shot from the edge of the area.
Napoli, which has won four of its last five matches, moved two points ahead of Lazio and Sampdoria in the race for the final Champions League spot. The southern club trails second-place Roma by six points.
"We've got to try and catch Roma and get second place," Higuain said. "As long as it's mathematically possible we have a shot."
Genoa remained seventh.
Earlier, Udinese won 2-1 at Empoli to move level with Palermo in eighth.
Antonio Di Natale put Udinese in front 19 minutes in and Silvan Widmer scored the winner on the hour mark after Riccardo Saponara had equalized with a penalty in the 37th following a hand ball by Danilo.
Udinese played the final 16 minutes with 10 men after Panagiotis Kone picked up his second yellow card for protests.
Empoli remained one point above the relegation zone.
Meanwhile, struggling AC Milan reported Monday that forward Stephan El Shaarawy broke a bone in his right foot at the end of a 3-1 loss to Lazio on Saturday. The Italy striker will have to wear a brace for six weeks before beginning rehabilitation and could miss the rest of the season.
El Shaarawy also broke a bone in his left foot in 2013 and was out long-term.
Lazio forward Filip Djordjevic was also injured in the match and will be out at least three months with a broken right ankle.
In other off-pitch news, Parma announced that forward Antonio Cassano has reached a consensual deal to terminate his contract, opening up an almost certain transfer back to Sampdoria or another club.
Elsewhere, Fiorentina announced that forward Alberto Gilardino has rejoined the club on loan from Chinese side Guangzhou Evergrande.