Nigeria forward Victor Osimhen scored to help Napoli move seven points clear at the top of Serie A after Sunday’s 2-0 win at 10-man Sampdoria.
Osimhen poked Napoli ahead in the 19th minute before Eljif Elmas sealed the points with a perfectly-place penalty with eight minutes remaining at a soaking Stadio Luigi Ferraris in Genoa.
The win extended Napoli’s lead on Juventus, winners over Udinese on Saturday who travel to Naples on Friday, and AC Milan who are a further point back in third ahead of their home match with Roma later on Sunday.
“Big game, big team, we have a great squad and the most important thing is to win,” said Osimhen.
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“Now we go back, relax and then start training to prepare for the game with Juventus.”
After netting his 10th league goal of the season Nigeria forward Osimhen was also the victim of a brutal foul from Tomas Rincon, who was sent off in the 38th minute for chopping the 24-year-old down as he charged towards goal.
Luciano Spalletti’s side bounced back from their defeat at Inter Milan on Wednesday and dampened an emotional evening for Sampdoria whose fans said goodbye to two of their most popular former players.
Serie A survival is beginning to look increasingly difficult as Sampdoria are 18th, six points behind Spezia who sit just outside the relegation zone and drew 0-0 with Lecce in similarly wet conditions.
The hosts were saved by goalkeeper Emil Audero in the sixth minute when he brilliantly kept out Matteo Politano’s penalty, but Osimhen put the away side ahead and from there Napoli took firm control.
Khvicha Kvaratskhelia should have done better one-on-one with Audero shortly after Osimhen’s opener and Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa was then unlucky to see his powerful drive skim just wide.
Sampdoria were then reduced to 10 and from that point sat back in the hope of nicking one on the counter until Elmas made sure of the win.
Empoli snatch Lazio draw
Razvan Marin lashed home the leveller in the fourth minute of stoppage time to earn Empoli a 2-2 draw at Lazio, who are three points from the Champions League positions in fifth after throwing away a two-goal lead late on.
Lazio were playing without the concentrated support of their hardcore fans after the Curva Nord section of the Stadio Olimpico was closed as punishment for racist chants directed at Samuel Umtiti during Wednesday’s defeat at Lecce.
And Maurizio Sarri’s team didn’t look in need of their vociferous backing against 13th-placed Empoli until veteran striker Francesco Caputo pulled one back in the 83rd minute with an expert finish, setting up the away side to take a precious point with Marin’s fine effort.
“Coming here was something I wanted to do at any cost and I managed to do it,” said Caputo, who moved back to the club where he made his name on Monday.
“When two people both work on a marriage things are always going to go well.”
Empoli are one point ahead of Monza and Salernitana following the latter’s 1-1 home draw with Torino in the day’s opening match.