OSIMHEN SCORES FIRST GOAL OF THE SEASON AS NAPOLI HAMMERED HELLAS VERONA 5-2
Victor Osimhen scored deep in first half stoppage time as Napoli ran riot in their first game of the season beating Hellas Verona 5-2 on the road.
Napoli ran out convincing 5-2 winners at Verona on Monday in their opening match of the Serie A season which was marred by Victor Osimhen being targeted by racist abuse from the stands.
However, Luciano Spalletti’s team were on top form at the Stadio Bentegodi, with goals from their Nigerian forward, Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, Piotr Zielinski, Stanislav Lobotka and Matteo Politano ensuring they got off to a perfect start.
Verona battled and were level early in the second half through Kevin Lasagna and Thomas Henry, but shorn of last season’s stars Giovanni Simeone — on his way to Napoli on loan — and Gianluca Caprari, there was little Gabriele Cioffi’s side could do under a second-half onslaught.
“I think it’s important to start well because we lost some key players, real leaders in the team. And of course it is left to us to step up,” said Osimhen, who was not asked by DAZN about the monkey chants directed at him.
“I’m not short of player to set (scoring) targets… the team comes before my individual ambitions.”
Napoli were on top from the first minute but were hit with a sucker punch just before the half-hour mark when, after Alex Meret tipped over Martin Hongla’s shot, Lasagna tapped home Koray Gunter’s flick-on of the subsequent corner.
But Napoli were deservedly level eight minutes later through new boy Kvaratskhelia, who marked an impressive debut by meeting Hirving Lozano’s cross with a perfect header past Lorenzo Montipo.
– Osimhen responds to crowd taunts –
And in first-half stoppage time Osimhen put Napoli ahead with a carbon copy of Lasagna’s opener from a corner, stretching to jab home Giovanni Di Lorenzo’s knockdown.
After netting his first goal of the season, Nigeria striker Osimhen took off his protective face mask and mimicked crying into a pitch-side camera, suggesting he had heard abuse before his goal.
Napoli’s advantage only lasted two minutes after the half-time break as another debutant in Henry headed in his first Verona goal since arriving from local rivals Venezia.
The Frenchman then accidentally gave Lasagna a bloody nose in the celebrations and a match which had almost everything then swung again in Napoli’s favour in the 55th minute.
Classy Kvaratskhelia slid through Zielinski with a neat first-time pass and the Pole rolled home a calm finish which ended Verona’s resistance.
Ten minutes later the result was put beyond doubt thanks to a well-worked goal from Lobotka, who drove towards the hosts’ goal unchallenged before simply passing the ball past Montipo.
And substitute Politano put the cherry on the cake with 11 minutes remaining after another flowing passing move ended with the Italian collecting Osimhen’s lay-off and firing home low with his left home.