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Osimhen shines as Napoli hold Inter Milan in Serie A cracker

3:44 AM SGT 13/2/22
The Nigeria international won the penalty that helped the Parthenopeans pick a point against the Black and Blues in Saturday’s league showdown

Victor Osimhen played a key role in Napoli’s 1-1 draw against Inter Milan in Saturday’s blockbuster Serie A showdown.
Lifted by his goalscoring heroics in the Parthenopeans’ 2-0 away victory at Venezia, the Nigeria international was named in the starting line-up by manager Luciano Spalletti.

That decision paid off for the hosts in the fifth minute as the former Lille goal machine was fouled by Stefan de Vrij – leading to referee Daniele Doveri awarding them a penalty kick.

Although the arbiter had waved play on, he was called to order by VAR. The ensuing kick was smartly dispatched past goalkeeper Samir Handanovic by Lorenzo Insigne.

Buoyed by that lead, the Serie A contender continued to dominate ball possession but were unable to double their advantage.

Napoli almost doubled their lead through Piotr Zielinski, who struck the post with a powerful effort from range, before Insigne’s acrobatic effort and Osimhen’s deflected strike both sailed over the crossbar of Simone Inzaghi’s men.

For the visitors who are still licking their wounds having bowed 2-1 at home to AC Milan on February 5, they were unyielding in their quest to return to winning ways. Notwithstanding, their attacking forays met strong resistance from goalkeeper David Ospina.

First, Dzeko headed tamely at Ospina, before Denzel Dumfries dragged his shot wide of the hosts’ goal that it rolled out for a throw-in.

Compensating for their poor first-half display, Inter Milan responded just two minutes after the break, when Dzeko pounced on a loose ball and thrashed his tenth league goal of the season in off the bar from six yards out.

Spalletti’s team came closest to netting a winner after seeing several chances go begging, as a superb save from Handanovic denied Elif Elmas a winner from inside the six-yard box.

As if that was not enough, they saw a late penalty shout waved away, but Inter remained resolute for a vital draw that leaves them one point clear at the top of the Italian elite division log.

While Africa Cup of Nations winner Kalidou Koulibaly was in action for Napoli, Osimhen was subbed off for Dries Mertens with six minutes left on the clock.

Elsewhere, Algeria’s Adam Ounas and Cameroon international Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa were introduced in the second half.

The Naples based outfit will continue their push for a third league diadem when they square up against Sassuolo on February 20.