Nigeria's Osimhen nets a brace as Napoli continue title march

AFP , Sunday 19 Mar 2023

Victor Osimhen and Khvicha Kvaratskhelia were again the heroes for Napoli as Italy's champions-elect thumped Torino 4-0 and moved a whopping 21 points clear at the Serie A summit.

Napoli s Victor Osimhen challenge for the ball during the Champions League round of 16 second leg soccer match between SSC Napoli and Eintracht Frankfurt at the Diego Armando Maradona stadium in Naples, Italy, Wednesday, March 15, 2023. AP


Nigeria striker Osimhen took his league-leading goal tally to 21 with two towering headers in each half with Kvaratskhelia's 35th-minute penalty sandwiched inbetween.

Kvaratskhelia then laid on Tanguy Ndombele's first Serie A goal in the 68th minute following great hold-up play from Osimhen as Napoli took another step towards a first league title since 1990 in front of an army of fans in Turin.

It was their first away trip after the end of a two-month ban on travelling supporters following a motorway dust up with Roma fans in January.

And they were on hand to see their team put in a typically dominant display which means at worst Napoli will be 18 points ahead of Inter Milan with 11 matches remaining, if Simone Inzaghi's inconsistent side beat Juventus in Sunday's big match.

Regardless it is only a matter of time before Napoli seal a historic title triumph, one which has come following a campaign of breathtaking football that has Osimhen convinced they can also win the Champions League.

They would have to win an Italian derby with AC Milan the quarter-finals and potentially another with Inter in the last four to reach the final, but it would be hard to bet against a team which seems to have caught lightning in a bottle and then used it to fry everything its wake.

Once Kvaratskhelia rolled in his 14th goal of the season Torino offered up no resistance and dropped down to 11th, level on 37 points with Bologna and ninth-placed Fiorentina who won their seventh straight match in all competitions 1-0 over Lecce.

Earlier Manolo Gabbiadini gave Sampdoria hope they might yet escape relegation from Serie A with both goals in Sunday's 3-1 win over fellow strugglers Verona.

Forward Gabbiadini struck twice in the first half at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris to help lift Samp off the bottom of the table into 19th place with their first win since January.

Dejan Stankovic's side are nine points behind Spezia, who sit just outside the drop zone and lost 1-0 at Sassuolo on Friday, after Gabbiadini poked home the opener in the 24th minute before lashing home the second 11 minutes later.

Marco Faraoni netted a consolation goal in the 88th minute for Verona, who are one place and four points above Samp, but Alessandro Zanoli responded for the hosts deep in stoppage time.

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