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  • Writer's pictureBruno Asoka

5-Star Napoli too expensive for The Old Lady

With a 5-1 victory over Juventus at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona, SSC Napoli increased their chances of winning the Serie A title with a 10 point cushion over Juventus.

League leaders Napoli sought to assert their aggressive style against second-placed Juventus with the support of an exuberant home crowd, and it only took them 14 minutes to breach a Bianconeri defense that hadn't given up in eight matches. Wojciech Szczęsny had impressively saved Khvicha Kvaratskhelia's acrobatic shot, and Victor Osimhen was alert to head home after seeing his debut effort denied moments before. Amir Rrahmani's errant pass gave Juventus their first opportunity to score as the visitors rallied, but Ángel Di María shot hit the woodwork on its way behind the goal, putting Napoli ahead.

Merciless as ever, the hosts would double their advantage in the 39th minute, doing so when Kvaratskhelia profited from Osimhen’s selfless pass in front of goal to tuck the ball into the bottom corner. However, the home crowd were stunned when Di María provided the instant response Juventus needed, clinically finishing from Arkadiusz Milik’s lay-off. Alex Meret then prevented a shock equaliser mere seconds before HT, as he outstandingly saved Rrahmani’s awkward attempted clearance from Federico Chiesa’s cross.

After the break, Napoli regained their composure, and Osimhen made a fantastic run behind Alex Sandro before being stopped by Szczęsny. However, when Rrahmani scored his first goal of the year with an amazing hit from the next corner, the goalkeeper was helpless to save it. The league's leading scorer made no mistake as Osimhen headed Kvaratskhelia's cross home to make it a resounding 4-1 in the 65th minute after Gleison Bremer lost possession near his own area.

Seven minutes later, Eljif Elmas' attempt was deflected in by Alex Sandro, giving Napoli their tenth straight victory at home. By this point, Luciano Spalletti's team was advancing at will. Gli Azzurri continued their relentless pursuit of a first Scudetto since 1990 on a possibly historic night for the team, emphatically breaking Juventus' eight-match league winning streak. In addition, Napoli scored so many goals that they defeated the Old Lady by five goals for just the second time in the 94-year history of this match.

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