• Friday, April 19, 2024
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Osimhen equals Maradona’s record with superb hat-trick against Sassuolo


Nigeria international Victor Osimhen scored a hat-trick as Serie A champions Napoli came from behind to earn a convincing 6-1 win over relegation-threatened Sassuolo in a league match played at the Stadio Mapei – Citta del Tricolore on Wednesday.

It was Osimhen‘s second hat-trick in Italy, who has now scored five goals over three matches in seven days since returning from the African Cup of Nations, where he helped Nigeria reach the final.

This means that the 25-year-old Nigerian striker who managed to score just one goal in seven matches at the 2023 AFCON has now scored in every match for Napoli since his return from the tournament.

The Super Eagles striker who had a stellar performance last season became the third Napoli player to score at least 10 goals in four consecutive seasons after Argentina legend Diego Maradona (1984-85 to 1987-88) and Attila Sallustro (1929-30 to 1932-33).

Napoli earned their first win under new manager Francesco Calzona and the result keeps the Serie A champions in ninth place in the Serie A table, now eight points off the top four.

Calzona, Napoli’s third coach this season, was hired to replace the fired Walter Mazzarri last week and had so far produced draws with Barcelona in the Champions League and Cagliari in Serie A.

Sassuolo is third from the bottom and extended its winless run to seven in its first game under Emiliano Bigica, who replaced the fired Alessio Dionisi on Sunday.

In a matchup of two of this season’s biggest disappointments, Sassuolo went ahead early when Uros Racic scored with a long, low, curving shot.

Napoli defender Amir Rrahmani equalized after getting set up by Giovanni Di Lorenzo and Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa.

Then Osimhen took over with three goals in 16 minutes.

Matteo Politano set up Osimhen’s first two goals, enabling last season’s scoring leader to tap in twice. Then Khvicha Kvaratskhelia intercepted a gifted pass from a Sassuolo defender and shifted the ball over to Osimhen for another easy goal.

Kvaratskhelia got on the score sheet himself when he dribbled in from the left wing and launched an accurate shot through a crowd of defenders. Then the Georgia dribbling wizard scored again by gathering a rebound of his shot and sending in another long shot.

Napoli will hope to continue their winning form when they visit Barcelona for the second leg of their Champions League last 16 match on March 12.