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Napoli Hopes Osimhen Return For Champions League Date With Milan


(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – Napoli are sweating on the return of Victor Osimhen for the first leg of their all-Italian Champions League quarter-final as they head towards possibly the biggest two matches in the club’s history in unconvincing form.

Southern Italy’s biggest club needed just four more wins from nine matches to secure their first league title since 1990 after a 2-1 win at Lecce — though they lacked a cutting edge which Luciano Spalletti’s side will need in Wednesday’s first leg at AC Milan.

Friday’s win only came about thanks to a bizarre own goal, and before Antonino Gallo’s unwitting backpass slipped through his surprised goalkeeper’s fingers Napoli were put on the back foot by lowly Lecce.

And while the three points take Napoli one step closer to the league crown as a performance it wasn’t much of an improvement from the previous weekend’s 4-0 home hammering at the hands of Milan.

Napoli have never before been in the last eight of the Champions League.

The way they have progressed through the competition, and being placed on the other side of the draw from European football’s contemporary powerhouses, has made them dark horses.

However as the season has progressed Napoli have become increasingly dependent on the dynamism of Osimhen and Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, and a thigh injury for Serie A’s leading scorer has highlighted his importance to his team’s overall play in their last two matches.

“It does become difficult without him, because he has this way of running into space and a physical presence, he can draw everyone to him and then create space,” said Spalletti after the Lecce win.

Spalletti will be hoping the Nigerian international returns on Wednesday also because he will probably be without the 24-year-old’s main replacement Giovanni Simeone, who suffered a thigh injury of his own after coming on as a substitute on Friday.

 

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