Napoli vs Torino 1-0: Osimhen Pulls Chestnuts Out of Fire Once Again

A lone goal from Victor Osimhen – who’s becoming more and more fundamental in the Partenopei‘s perfect machine – helped Napoli see off Torino in a Serie A Round 8 game that turned out to be more complicated than expected for Luciano Spalletti’s band.

But thanks to their Nigerian striker, Napoli managed to extend their perfect top-flight start to eight win out of eight games and push back Milan’s challenge, keeping the Rossoneri at a two-point distance.

Luciano Spalletti lined up Napoli in his usual 4-2-3-1 setup where the only surprise was between the sticks, with David Ospina starting ahead of Alex Meret despite the Azzurro‘s full recovery from his back injury. For Torino, Ivan Juric recovered Andrea Belotti after 55 days but preferred to make him start from the bench.

The Granata lost Rolando Mandragora after just six minutes for an injury. The captain thus made room for 20-year-old Ben Lhassine Kone, who made his Serie A debut with the Granata jersey.

The young Ivorian paid a big price to inexperience as, on 24 minutes, he clumsily crashed on Giovanni Di Lorenzo in the box, sending Lorenzo Insigne to the penalty spot. Good for Kone and for Torino that the Napoli captain’s conversion was weak and offered goalkeeper Vanja Milinkovic Savic an easy chance to shine.

Victor Osimhen made for a full attacking line by himself but, on 20 minutes, should have done better from a fine Matteo Politano cross as he headed the ball out of the target. 

Torino tried to open a breach into Napoli’s wall from the wings, relying on Wilfried Singo’s accelerations on the left flank and Ola Aina’s incursions on the opposite flank. From an Aina pass, Josip Brekalo had the clearest chance for the Granata, firing a shot the called David Ospina to a tricky save to the near post.

Torino had an even bigger occasion on the counter just before the half time break but wasted their chance as Brekalo served Antonio Sanabria and the Paraguay international missed hit the side netting with his shot. 

The VAR frustrated Napoli’s hopes around the one-hour mark as Giovanni Di Lorenzo was caught offside when he headed home a Mario Rui free kick. It took more than two minutes for the video assistance to check but the Partenopei‘s goal was duly disallowed.

On 63 minutes, another chance for Napoli: Hirving Lozano, who had just replaced Politano in one of Spalletti’s usual rotations, hit Milinkovic-Savic’s right post with a fine left-footed conclusion. Torino’s answer to that was immediate and once again came from Josip Brekalo, who was denied by Ospina after producing himself in a brilliant dribble through three Azzurri men.

Brekalo continued to be Torino’s most dangerous man, though his next conversion attempt from a Singo cross should have been better.

As the game approached its end, some big names entered the stage – Dries Mertens on the Partenopei side and Andrea Belotti for Torino. At the end of the day, however, it was once again Victor Osimhen to make the difference. With eight minutes to go, the big Nigerian headed the ball home with perfect timing, solving in Napoli’s favor an extended one-touch action in the Torino area. 

Napoli held to their lead despite six minutes of added time and collected their eighth win in a row to extend their perfect Serie A record. Nobody could have expected the Partenopei to have such a shimmering start and the best for Spalletti and co. may be yet to come…   


October 17, 2021 – Serie A 2021-2022 Round 8

SCORERS: 81′ Osimhen

NAPOLI (4-2-3-1): Ospina; Di Lorenzo, Rrahmani, Koulibaly, Mario Rui; Anguissa, Fabian Ruiz, Zielinski (71′ Mertens); Politano (59′ Lozano, 89′ Juan Jesus), Osimhen, Insigne (71′ Elmas) (Meret, Marfella, Zanoli, Ghoulam, Demme, Lobotka, Petagna) Coach: Spalletti
TORINO (3-4-2-1): V. Milinkovic-Savic; Djidji, Bremer, Rodriguez (66′ Buongiorno); Singo, Lukic, Mandragora (8′ Kone, 89′ Warming), Aina; Linetty (67′ Pobega), Brekalo; Sanabria (67′ Belotti) (Berisha, Vojvoda, Zima, Ansaldi, Izzo, Baselli, Zaza) Coach: Juric

REFEREE: Mr. Sacchi from Macerata
NOTES: Yellow Cards: Koulibaly, Anguissa (N), Rodriguez, Linetty, Pobega, Belotti (T); Added Time: 1st Half: 2′, 2nd Half: 6′