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Serie A

Osimhen back in the goals as Napoli return to winning ways against Sampdoria

22:46 EAT 08/01/2023
Victor Osimhen celebrates against Sampdoria.
Victor Osimhen was on the scoresheet as Napoli bounced back to winning ways following their 2-0 victory over Sampdoria in the Serie A on Sunday.
  • Osimhen showed great centre-forward play to score Napoli’s opener
  • The Nigeria international caused the Sampdoria defence problems
  • Super Eagles striker still leads Serie A Golden Boot race with 10 goals

WHAT HAPPENED? Osimhen scored Napoli’s first goal after displaying a striker’s instinct to get in the right place to poke home after 19 minutes.

The Nigeria international spotted Mario Rui on the ball and sprinted into the box, getting in between the two centre-backs, before connecting well with Rui’s perfectly timed pass to slot home his 10th league goal and 11th in all competitions.

Osimhen’s goal came after Napoli had missed a fourth-minute penalty when Matteo Politano saw his effort saved by the goalkeeper after Cameroon midfielder Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa had been brought down in the box, two minutes into the game.

The Super Eagles forward had seen his 16th-minute header saved by the goalkeeper and also hit directly at the defenders on the half-turn a few minutes later. Osimhen was then heavily involved as Sampdoria were reduced to 10 men six minutes to the break, when Tomas Rincon received a straight red card for bringing him down.

Osimhen received the ball on the right wing, beat his marker before sprinting into the box but Rincon hacked him down, resulting into the sending off for the Venezuela midfielder to hand Napoli an advantage.

The Serie A leaders, however, failed to take advantage of their numerical strength, with Sampdoria staying tight at the back, until eight minutes from time when Eljif Elmas converted from the spot after Ronaldo Vieira handled the ball in the box.

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Osimhen had been criticised for failing to sparkle as Napoli suffered their first league defeat to Inter Milan on Wednesday but he came alive against Sampdoria, with his movement in and out of the box impressive.

The 24-year-old had two shots on target and similar number blocked against an opponent for who he has now scored four goals past.

Osimhen has now scored eight goals in his last 10 league games and remains top on the Serie A leading scorers’ list with 10, two ahead of Inter’s Lautaro Martinez, M'Bala Nzola of Spezia and Bologna’s Marko Arnautovic, who are all tied on eight.

THE VERDICT: Osimhen’s performance suggested that he remains Napoli’s main man and the Azzurri will need him to stay in form and avoid injuries if they are to win their first Serie A title since 1990.

WHAT’S NEXT? Napoli’s title credentials will come under test when they host Juventus in their next league match, with the Old Lady currently on form, after winning eight straight matches.