Dazzling Napoli win in tribute to Maradona

Napoli's Spanish midfielder Fabian Ruiz (C) is congratulated by teammates after scoring a goal during the Italian Serie A football match between Naples (Napoli) and Lazio Rome at Diego-Armando-Maradona stadium in Naples, on November 28, 2021.


Napoli have produced a dazzling display to mark the first anniversary of Diego Maradona's death when they stormed to a 4-0 win over Lazio to move three points clear at the top of Serie A.

Club great Maradona died on November 25 last year and to mark the anniversary Napoli unveiled a statue inside the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium pre-match and wore shirts with the Argentine's face on them for the Lazio clash.

The performance was befitting of the man, too, with the hosts blowing away Lazio with a stunning show of attacking football, racing to a 3-0 lead inside 29 minutes with goals from Piotr Zielinski and a double from Dries Mertens.

With the job done, Napoli took their foot off the gas in the second half but Lazio did not register a single shot on or off target in response.

Fabian Ruiz put the icing on the cake late on.

"It is our best performance, especially as it comes after a couple of performances that were not up to our standards, so it means something that we beat a big club like Lazio this way," coach Luciano Spalletti told DAZN.

The result has Napoli clear at the top of the standings after second-placed AC Milan slipped to a surprise defeat at home to Sassuolo earlier on Sunday, while Lazio dropped to eighth with their second successive league loss.

Milan suffered their second successive league defeat when Sassuolo stunned their opponents at the San Siro after coming from behind to earn a 3-1 victory.

Fabian Ruiz of SSC Napoli celebrates after scoring the fourth goal for his team with his teammates during the Serie A match between SSC Napoli and SS Lazio at Stadio Diego Armando Maradona on November 28, 2021 in Naples, Italy.


The hosts raced into an early lead after skipper Alessio Romagnoli headed home from a corner in the 21st minute, and Milan looked on course to get back to winning ways in the league after last weekend's loss at Fiorentina.

However, Sassuolo, who beat Juventus away from home last month, turned the match on its head, with Gianluca Scamacca's stunning strike and Simon Kjaer's unfortunate own goal giving them the lead inside 33 minutes.

Even with veteran striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic leading the line, Milan struggled to issue a response, as Domenico Berardi made sure of a thoroughly deserved victory for Sassuolo with a superb solo goal in the 66th minute.

Romagnoli's red card in the 77th minute effectively ended Milan's hopes of getting anything from the match.

A first-half goal from English striker Tammy Abraham was enough to earn Roma a 1-0 win over Torino that sent Jose Mourinho's men above their city rivals Lazio into fifth.

Bologna jumped into the tiop half of the standings with a 1-0 win at lowly Spezia.

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