Osimhen double helps lift Napoli second in Serie A


Milan (AFP) – Victor Osimhen scored twice as Napoli beat Spezia 4-1 to move second in Serie A on Saturday to keep in the chase for a return to Champions League football next season.

Piotr Zielinski had opened the scoring after a quarter of an hour against the Ligurian side with Osimhen getting two more in the first half and then setting up Hirving Lozano for a fourth with 11 minutes to go.

Napoli are one-point ahead of three teams — Atalanta, Juventus and AC Milan — who are tied on 69 points before they play this weekend.

Gennaro Gattuso’s side had lost 2-1 to Spezia in Naples back in January, but hit back against the relegation-threatened side to extend their unbeaten run to 12 consecutive games. 

Polish midfielder Zielinski finished off a Giovanni Di Lorenzo pull-back after 15 minutes and then provided the cross for Nigerian international Osimhen to score the second eight minutes later.

The Nigerian completed his first Serie A brace off a Lorenzo Insigne free-kick just before the break to bring his tally to seven goals in as many games.

The 22-year-old has scored a total of 10 goals in 21 games played this campaign.

Roberto Piccoli pulled a goal back for Spezia after an hour but Osimhen was on hand to roll the ball across for Lozano. The goal was confirmed after a VAR viewing.

Napoli lost all-time record goalscorer Dries Mertens to an ankle injury in the second-half just seven minutes after the Belgian came off the bench.

Dethroned champions Juventus host AC Milan on Sunday in a clash of team hunting a Champions League place.

Juventus’ bid for a 10th consecutive title collapsed last weekend as Inter Milan sealed their first league crown since 2010 with four games to spare.

Antonio Conte’s Inter host Sampdoria in the San Siro later Saturday, their first game at home since being crowned champions, but fans are only allowed to celebrate outside the stadium because of Covid-19 restrictions.

Behind Inter, five teams battle for the other three Champions League spots.

Lazio are five points behind Atalanta, Juve and AC Milan but with a game in hand, and travel to Fiorentina later on Saturday.

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