Napoli smashed Juventus, 5-1, to increase its lead atop the Serie A standings to 10 points on Friday. The hosts dominated the much-anticipated matchup of the top two clubs in Italy. Napoli also extended their impressive form as one of the hottest teams in Europe. In fact, Napoli has now collected all three points in 13 of its last 14 league matches.
Juventus entered the night also on a hot streak, as well. In fact, the Old Lady had recorded eight consecutive victories in league play. Juve have even kept clean sheets in all of these matches as well. Head coach Max Allegri has managed to take the club from eighth in the table all the way to second since the winning streak began.
Napoli dynamic duo link up early against Juventus
The Old Lady’s impressive record would not last long, though. Osimhen gave Napoli the lead just 14 minutes into the match. Juventus goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny made a good initial save from a Khvicha Kvaratskhelia shot, but the Nigerian international headed home the rebound from close range. It was only the fourth time this season that Juve allowed the opening goal in league play.
Kvaratskhelia doubled Napoli’s lead five minutes before the halftime break. Osimhen pounced on a loose ball inside Juve’s box and found the wide open Georgia international. Kvaratskhelia curled a perfectly placed shot passed Szczesny and into the net.
However, Di Maria halved Juve’s deficit just three minutes later. With his back to goal, Arkadiusz Milik played a simple pass to the Argentine who, like Kvaratskhelia, curled a shot passed the goalkeeper. It was Di Maria’s first goal for his club since August. Although, he scored a goal in the World Cup final with Argentina in December.
Napoli’s two-goal lead returned in the 55th minute from an unlikely goal-scorer. Amir Rrahmani hit a beautiful strike near the penalty spot from a corner routine. It was his first goal of the current campaign. Szczesny thought Osimhen was offside and blocking his view. However, replays showed that the Nigerian was well onside.
Osimhen extends Serie A scoring lead
Osimhen and Kvara connected again for the team’s fourth goal on the night. The Georgian put a cross on a platter and the Nigerian headed home passed Szczesny from short range. Osimhen’s brace means that he now has a dozen goals in just 14 Serie A games so far this season.
Napoli added a fifth goal as substitute Eljif Elmas scored in the 72nd minute. Although the ball was heavily deflected by a Juve defender, the Macedonian midfielder struck the ball well and put enough pace on it to get it by Szczesny.
Juve will now have to regroup as they turn their attention to the Coppa Italia next week. Napoli fans, on the other hand, will surely be celebrating the massive victory all weekend.
PHOTO: IMAGO / LaPresse
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