Roma vs Napoli 0-1: Osimhen Masterpiece Extends Winning Streak

Napoli played their 11th symphony on Sunday night as they shocked Roma at the Stadio Olimpico with a late Victor Osimhen strike to reinforce their solitary lead at the top of the Serie A table. 

The Nigerian’s winning effort came after 80 minutes of tense stalemate during which José Mourinho’s Roma had managed to keep the Partenopei‘s firepower at bay but done little to try to win the Sunday night game. 

Napoli suffered more than they did so far in this season, but ultimately resorted to a classic from last campaign – Osimhen’s capacity to make a difference and literally turn a match upside down by himself – even in a day when Kvicha Kvaratskhelia was less brilliant than usual and Hirving Lozano pushed himself hard but couldn’t find the target. 

Perhaps it was not a high-octane version of Napoli the one seen tonight at the Stadio Olimpico, but grabbing the three points was all that mattered in such a perilous game as the Derby del Sole (“Derby of the Sun”), which puts against each other the main clubs from the two Italian cities connected by the “Highway of the Sun.” 

The Partenopei thus collected their 11th win in a row, equaling their positive streak dating back to 1996 – the year when they won their first historical title under Ottavio Bianchi’s tenure. Considering that their immediate pursuer in the league table, Atalanta, were shocked at home by the other Roman side Lazio earlier in the day, Luciano Spalletti and his boys have much to be happy about. 

Mourinho’s plan for the day seemed to be to limit Napoli’s offensive potential. The result was a very tactical first half in which Napoli tried to build up their play with fast-paced one-touch efforts but were systematically blocked by the Giallorossi, who in turn mostly resorted to long balls in an attempt to pick Tammy Abraham and Nicoló Zaniolo upfront.

Piotr Zielinski and Lozano were the only ones who managed to shot on target but their efforts were easy prey for Roma’s Rui Patricio. 

The only noteworthy chance came just before the half time break as Tanguy Ndombele freed himself in the box with a magic trick to go one-on-one with the Giallorossi‘s goalkeeper. Rui Patricio knocked him down but only after pushing the ball away, as the VAR promptly confirmed to contradict the referee’s initial penalty call. 

Lozano’s missile from long-range right after the restart was finger-tipped above the bar by Patricio, showing that Napoli’s attacking trend was not going to change in the second period. Next came an Elif Elmas conclusion that was providentially deflected in corner by Chris Smalling. From the subsequent set piece, Juan Jesus squandered Napoli’s best chance so far as he missed the target from a favorable position in the middle of the box.

The 70th minute of the game offered more than what seen in the entire match so far. Roma sort of had their only shot on target, which came in the form of a Zaniolo sharp cross from the right side. Alex Meret palmed it away, then Zielinski anticipated Mady Camara to trigger Napoli’s counterattack. However, Osimhen’s final shot went wide of Rui Patricio’s right post. But the Nigerian was only adjusting his aim, as it would turn out.  

The Derby del Sole appeared a cagey affair and it became clear by the minute that only a single episode could unlock it. Which is what happened on 80 minutes, when substitute Matteo Politano (he had replaced Lozano just five minutes earlier…) triggered Osimhen’s fast break with a whipping cross.

The Nigerian hitman bested Smalling, the put the ball past Rui Patricio at the far post with a lightning-fast touch to set the few Neapolitan supporters at the Stadio Olimpico on fire. It was an absolute masterpiece. 

José Mourinho reacted with a flurry of substitutions but his four new men failed to pose any late threat to Meret and Napoli, who could thus celebrate their umpteenth success in this extraordinary season start. All in all, Roma played a courageous game but paid for their lack of ideas when it came to attacking.  



October 23, 2022 – Serie A 2022-2023 Round 11

SCORER: 80′ Osimhen

ROMA (3-4-2-1): Rui Patricio; Mancini (82′ El Shaarawy), Smalling, Ibanez; Karsdorp (82′ Vina), Cristante, Camara (82′ Matic), Spinazzola (85′ Shomurodov); Zaniolo, Pellegrini; Abraham (63′ Belotti) (Boer, Svilar, Kumbulla, Bove, Volpato, Tripi, Tahirovic) Coach: Mourinho
NAPOLI (4-3-3): Meret; Di Lorenzo, Kim Min-jae, Juan Jesus, Olivera; Ndombele (12′ st Elmas), Lobotka, Zielinski (75′ Gaetano); Lozano (75′ Politano), Osimhen, Kvaratskhelia (Marfella, Idasiak, Demme, Mario Rui, Simeone, Zerbin, Zedadka, Ostigard, Zanoli, Raspadori) Coach: Spalletti
REFEREE: Mr. Irrati from Pistoia
NOTES: Yellow Cards: Smalling, Cristante, Ibanez (R), Lozano, Ndombele, Olivera, Lobotka (N); Added Time: 1st Half 3′, 2nd Half 5′
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