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Osimhen Goal Helps Fire Napoli Past Cagliari, Into Top Four

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – Victor Osimhen and Khvicha Kvaratskhelia combined to give Napoli a 2-1 win over struggling Cagliari on Saturday and send their side into Serie A’s Champions League places.

The inspiration behind last season’s stunning league title triumph, Napoli’s attacking stars struck a goal each as the reigning champions moved up to fourth.

Kvaratskhelia swept home the decisive strike in the 75th minute, six minutes after Osimhen’s headed opener and shortly after Leonardo Pavoletti had equalised for the away side.

Walter Mazzarri’s side are two points ahead of fifth-placed Roma and Bologna, who face off on Sunday, following their third league home win of what has been a troubled season to date.

Napoli’s title defence already looks over as they are 11 points behind Inter Milan ahead of the league leaders’ match at Lazio on Sunday night.

Claudio Ranieri’s Cagliari stay 16th, one point above the relegation zone and Empoli who are at Torino in Saturday’s late match.

Napoli won a match whose kick-off was delayed by 30 minutes after strong winds in Naples led to concerns over stadium safety.

Turnstiles at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona were left closed longer than usual while inspections to the ground’s roof were carried out.

No major damage was found, and once the match got underway Napoli pushed forward but struggled to break down resilient Cagliari.

After a series of wasted half chances Amir Rrahmani headed onto the base of the post just before the half hour, but Cagliari were in the game and dangerous on their forays forward.

Osimhen opened the scoring in the 69th minute when he powered a header through the hands of Cagliari’s despairing goalkeeper Simone Scuffet.

Pavoletti, who shot Cagliari out of the relegation zone last weekend, bundled in his fourth goal of the campaign three minutes later.

But the home crowd was soon back on its feet for Kvaratskhelia’s winner, which came after superb hold-up play from Osimhen led to the Nigerian drilling over a low cross which his Georgian strike partner crashed in off the post.

That was Kvaratskhelia’s second goal in nearly two months and gave Napoli their second straight home win after beating Braga midweek to reach the Champions League knockouts.


Short URL: https://www.africanexaminer.com/?p=92866

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