Serie A: Napoli defeats Spezia, continuing its crawl towards the title
Monday – 15 Rajab 1444 AH – 06 February 2023 AD Issue No. [
The brilliant Osimhen scored twice from the Naples victory hat-trick (Reuters)
Rome: «Middle East»
Napoli continued its march to win its first title since 1990, by defeating its host Spezia 3-0, yesterday, in the 21st round of the Italian Football League.
Nigerian Victor Osimhen imposed himself as the star of the match, by scoring two goals from the hat-trick in the two minutes (68 and 73), strengthening his lead in the scorers’ ranking by reaching 16 goals, while Georgian Khvicha Kvaratskhelia scored the first goal from a penalty kick in the 47th minute.
“All wins are important,” Osimhen said after the match. “We need to keep the momentum going and try to win all the matches.” “Of course it won’t be easy,” the 24-year-old added. Serie A is a very competitive league, and we have to be at our best. We will be back to prepare for the next match, and that is the most important thing.”
In a snapshot of high sportsmanship, Osimhen went to the stands at the “Studio Pico” stadium to apologize to a fan who was accidentally hit by one of his shots during warm-up exercises, before the start of the match.
After Osimhen hugged the woman and took selfies with her, he talked about what happened, saying: “I think she was looking at her phone when the ball hit her in the face, and I felt very sorry; Because I didn’t mean to do that… I had to show my appreciation and say sorry for that.”
This is the fifth successive victory for Napoli in the league, since its only loss this season against Inter, 0-1, in the sixteenth stage.
The southern club, which achieved its eighteenth victory, is presenting a remarkable performance this season, in its continuous quest to win its first title in “Serie A” since 1990, when the late Argentine legend Diego Armando Maradona led it to its second title in its history after 1987.
Napoli is flying alone in the lead; As he raised his score to 56 points, 16 points ahead of his direct chaser Inter, before the latter faced his neighbor Milan in the North Derby at the end of this stage.
On the other hand, Spezia’s balance, which suffered its fourth consecutive loss in various competitions and sought to avoid relegation, froze at 18 points in the seventeenth place.
Napoli coach Luciano Spalletti decided to rely on the same starting line-up that won Rome 2-1 in the previous stage, with Mexican Hirving Lozano and the brilliant Kvaratskhelia on the wings, and Osimhen in the lead.
And Napoli failed to translate its possession of the ball (63 percent) into the lead goal in the first half, so that the goalless draw dominated, in the most dangerous opportunity for the guest, with Giovanni Di Lorenzo’s header, which passed next to the post in the 11th minute.
Napoli succeeded in opening the scoring at the start of the second half from a penalty kick, after a handball on Polish defender Arkadiusz Rika inside the area, which Kvaratskhelia successfully executed to the right of Polish goalkeeper Bartolomei Dragowski in the 47th minute. It is Kvaratskhelia’s eighth goal this season in the league.
Osimhen thought he had doubled the lead for Napoli in the 62nd minute, when he broke through the defense and fired into the net, but the goal he scored was ruled out due to a mistake on defender Mattia Caldara. Osimhen returned and scored again after a mistake in dispersal by Welsh defender Ethan Ampadu, and the ball reached the penalty area, followed by the Napoli striker heading into the empty goal, after he excelled in the aerial struggle against the goalkeeper in the 68th minute.
After 5 minutes, Osimhen added his second personal goal and the third for his team, following a pass from Kvaratskhelia, so that the latter came out a minute later and was replaced by French midfielder Tanguy Ndombele, while Argentine Giovanni Simeone replaced the Nigerian scorer in the 82nd minute, amid warm applause from the fans for them.