Victor Osimhen and Eljif Elmas scored for table-topping Napoli at Sampdoria to earn the league leaders a 2-0 victory. The win took them seven points clear at the top of Serie A, ahead of second placed Juventus. Sampdoria finished the match down to 10 men after they have Tomas Rincon sent off after just 38 minutes. Sampdoria finished the match in 18th place.
Napoli stretched their lead at the top of Serie A after a 2-0 win at 10-man Sampdoria.
Victor Osimhen’s first-half strike and Eljif Elmas’ penalty with eight minutes left on the clock was enough to earn Luciano Spalletti’s side all three points at a soaking-wet Marassi.
Napoli were awarded a penalty inside four minutes when Nicola Murru brought down Andre-Frank Anguissa as the midfielder looked to bring the ball down in his stride and threaten the Sampdoria goal.
Matteo Politano stepped up but Emil Audero produced a strong left hand to guide the ball onto the post as Sampdoria managed to get the rebound clear.
Despite the quick start from Napoli, the hosts grew into the game and troubled the league leaders with a handful of big chances.
Manolo Gabbiadini steered an effort wide at the near post, and Bram Nuytinck headed a cross over the bar from close range.
Sampdoria would go on to rue their chances as Napoli flew down the other end through Mario Rui, with the left-back producing a great cross for Osimhen to poke the ball over the head of Audero.
Things went from bad to worse for Sampdoria as Tomas Rincon was shown a straight red card for a foul on Osimhen, who was far too quick for the home defender as he brought the Nigerian down with a flailing leg as Osimhen beat him for pace and drove toward goal.
Despite the man advantage, Napoli struggled to break Sampdoria down in the second half but eventually claimed a second with their second penalty of the match, converted by Elmas.
A VAR replay showed Ronaldo Vieira handle the ball as Elmas tried to flick a pass to Piotr Zielinski on the edge of the box.
The win means Napoli move seven points clear of second-place Juventus at the top of Serie A, while Sampdoria drop into the bottom three.
TALKING POINT – NAPOLI MOVE SEVEN POINTS CLEAR
Can they do it? Can Napoli win the Scudetto for the first time since 1989-90? They’re certainly going about it the right way.
Goals from Victor Osimhen and Eljif Elmas send them seven points clear of Juventus in second place, and they face Massimiliano Allegri’s side on Friday in what could be a season-defining game.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH – MARIO RUI (NAPOLI)
What a performance Mario Rui produced to help launch Napoli’s title charge. He put the ball on a plate for Osimhen in the first half to poke home the opener and ran Sampdoria ragged on Napoli’s left flank.
His assist for Osimhen to put Napoli in front was his sixth of the season in Serie A which puts him second in the rankings behind Sergej Milinkovic-Savic on seven. He also completed more passes than any other player on the pitch (87) and drew the most fouls (4), proving how difficult he was to deal with.
SAMPDORIA: Audero 8, Murru 6, Murillo 6, Nuytinck 7, Leris 6, Vieira 6, Rincon 5, Augello 7, Verre 6, Lammers 6, Gabbiadini 6
Subs: Zanoli 6, Villar 6, Paoletti N/A, Djuricic 6, Montevago N/A
NAPOLI: Meret 7, Di Lorenzo 8, Kim 7, Jesus 7, Rui 8, Anguissa 8, Lobotka 7, Elmas 8, Politano 7, Osimhen 7, Kvaratskhelia 6
Subs: Rrahmani 7, Zielinski 6, Ndombele 6, Lozano 6, Raspadori N/A
4’ – NAPOLI PENALTY! Rosario Abisso points to the spot after a quick look at the pitchside monitor! Anguissa looks to take the ball down in the box and Murru comes across and nudges him over. Matteo Politano will step up.
6’ – PENALTY MISSED! Politano smashes the ball to Emil Audero’s right side and he gets a hand to the ball before guiding it onto the post, and Sampdoria clear the rebound! What an opening five minutes we’ve had here.
15’ – NUYTINCK HEADS OVER FROM A CORNER – What a response from the hosts! Sampdoria have a corner but Bram Nuytinck heads his effort from close-range over the bar.
19’ – GOAL! SAMPDORIA 0-1 NAPOLI (OSIMHEN) – A moment of brilliance from left-back Rui who puts the ball on a plate for Osimhen to poke the ball beyond Audero. Napoli lead!
38’ – SAMPDORIA RED CARD! Osimhen drives towards the Sampdoria goal and is far too quick for Tomas Rincon who comes across and takes the forward out. From bad to worse for the hosts!
79’ – NAPOLI SCREAMING FOR A PENALTY! They think the ball has come off of Ronaldo Vieira’s hand as Elmas tries to flick a pass to Zielinski on the edge of the box. It’s going to VAR!
82’ – GOAL! SAMPDORIA 0-2 NAPOLI (ELMAS PEN) – He sends Audero the wrong way as he hammers the ball into the top left corner as he surely wraps up all three points for Napoli!