- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 19, 2016

NAPLES, Italy (AP) - Napoli got back to winning ways in style as Dries Mertens scored a hat trick to help the southern side to a 6-0 victory over Bologna in Serie A on Tuesday.

It was Napoli’s biggest home victory in Serie A since 1987.

Napoli’s title hopes had faded after two defeats in its previous three matches left it nine points behind Juventus with five rounds remaining, but it was desperate for a victory to hold onto second spot, with Roma five points behind after the weekend.

Roma hosts Torino on Wednesday before the two sides meet in Rome next Monday. Napoli star striker Gonzalo Higuain will be back for that encounter after sitting out the last of his three-match ban.

Napoli got off to the perfect start as Mertens’ through ball set up Manolo Gabbiadini for the opener in the 10th minute.

Gabbiadini doubled his tally 10 minutes from halftime before Mertens’ second-half hat-trick. Substitute David Lopez added a sixth late on.

Bologna is seven points above the relegation zone, ahead of the rest of the midweek fixtures.

“We lost 6-0, we gave a bad impression of ourselves and I’m the first one who’s responsible,” Bologna coach Roberto Donadoni said. “We were dominated by Napoli in every sense and from the very first ball we showed that we were playing with too much fear and nervousness. We need to put this defeat behind us and act like men.

“Matches may be lost, but they have to be played. From a personal point of view, I’m struggling to accept this defeat. What I said in the dressing room will remain there. Now we have to think about the next match which will be decisive. There are still four matches left and we have to still get points … We have to have a different mental attitude.”

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