Victor Osimhen nets brace to send Napoli into second place

 

Napoli climbed to second in Serie A after a double from Nigerian striker Victor Osimhen fired them to a 2-1 win at Hellas Verona on Sunday.

Osimhen made the difference in a tight match in Verona, heading the visitors in front in the 14th minute after darting across his man.

Verona applied plenty of pressure after the break, with Osimhen feeling the effects of one of several robust Verona challenges, before Napoli’s top goalscorer recovered to double his side’s lead with 19 minutes left.

A spirited Verona refused to give in and got back into the contest as captain Davide Faraoni headed home, but Federico Ceccherini’s sending off for two bookable offences seven minutes from time ended their hopes of completing the turnaround.

The victory took Luciano Spalletti’s title-chasers on to 60 points from 29 matches played, three points behind leaders AC Milan and two ahead of Inter, who play Torino later on Sunday. Verona stay ninth.

A home loss to Milan last week dented Napoli’s hopes of a first Scudetto in 32 years, but with Osimhen back fit and in form, they have every chance of pushing the Milan clubs all the way.

“I think after the defeat to Milan everyone was upset, so we went into a difficult ground against an organised team with determination and desire to win, it’s a deserved win,” he told DAZN.

“In order to win the Scudetto, we must try to win every game this season. Today was a step towards our objective and I believe we can do it.”

Sanchez earns Inter dramatic last-gasp point

Alexis Sanchez’s stoppage-time strike earned Inter Milan a dramatic 1-1 draw at Torino as the Serie A title race took another twist on Sunday.

With Milan, Napoli and Juventus all earning three points this weekend, champions Inter fell behind early on in Turin as they looked to keep pace, with Torino’s Brazilian defender Bremer stabbing home the ball with 12 minutes on the clock.

Chances came and went for Inter in the second half, with Edin Dzeko heading over the most glaring opportunity from a glorious position late on as the visitors’ moment seemed to have come and gone.

Substitute Sanchez’s composure in the 93rd minute, however, snatched what could be a crucial point for Inter in their quest to retain the Scudetto.

Simone Inzaghi’s third-placed side are four points behind leaders AC Milan with a game in hand, with Juventus only three points further back. Torino stay 11th.

“To win the Scudetto, we need to approach matches better,” Inzaghi told DAZN.

“We lost energy and players through injury at crucial moments of the season, but this shouldn’t be an excuse. We have 10 ‘finals’ plus the Italian Cup to come.

“Now we need to recover energy and some results. There is physical and mental fatigue, but we are Inter and we have to do better.”

An impressive win at Liverpool in the Champions League in midweek, following a 5-0 thrashing of Salernitana last weekend, gave fans hope that Inter had turned the corner after recent poor form, but Bremer’s opener heightened fears that a title defence may be beyond them.

Other than Lautaro Martinez’s header that was well saved, Inter did not look like scoring in the first half, but the visitors stepped it up after the break with substitute Federico Dimarco denied by a fine stop by Torino goalkeeper Etrit Berisha.

Dzeko then headed wide from a good position, before Torino had two chances to double their lead, with Josip Brekalo firing over and Inter goalkeeper Samir Handanovic denying Tommaso Pobega with a stunning save.

After veteran Bosnian striker Dzeko had somehow missed the target again with a header, Inzaghi sank to his knees, frustrated at an opportunity missed.

Sanchez’s fine finish – his first goal since early February – salvaged a point moments later but, against a Torino side without a win in six league games coming into the contest, Inter may look at this result as two points dropped.

Pellegrini salvages point

A late penalty from Lorenzo Pellegrini ensured the worst was avoided as Roma drew 1-1 with Udinese on Sunday evening.

Pellegrini converted from 12 yards out deep into injury time to rescue a point at the Stadio Friuli, in a game where Roma seemed destined for large parts to come away with nothing.

A late flurry from Jose Mourinho’s side gave the visitors hope, however – and an eventual penalty from Marvin Zegelaar gave Pellegrini the chance to continue Roma’s unbeaten streak.

Nahuel Molina gave Udinese the lead early on with a powerful strike from the edge of the box, although the hosts squandered further opportunities to extend that advantage – with Rui Patricio making a handful of important interventions.

Only in the second half did Roma really spark into life, with Udinese goalkeeper Marco Silvestri and some resolute defending combining to deny the Giallorossi an equaliser.

That was, at least, until Pellegrini was given a gilt-edged late chance to level things up.

Roma’s next league encounter is the derby against Lazio on Sunday – prior to that they have the small matter of the UEFA Europa Conference League last-16 second leg against Vitesse Arnhem at the Stadio Olimpico to negotiate.

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Courtesy: Reuters and AS Roma

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