Kvaratskhelia and Osimhen extend Napoli's Serie A lead to 18 points

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Khvicha Kvaratskhelia of SSC Napoli celebrate after scoring a goal with Victor Osimhen of SSC Napoli during the Serie A match between US Sassuolo and SSC Napoli at Mapei Stadium - Citta' del Tricolore on February 17, 2023 in Reggio nell'Emilia, Italy.

In-form duo Khvicha Kvaratskhelia and Victor Osimhen were among the goals again and Napoli opened an 18-point lead in Serie A with a 2-0 win at Sassuolo on Friday.

Giovanni Simeone, the son of Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone, thought he had made it 3-0 in injury time but his goal was ruled out for offside.

Napoli have 62 points from 23 games ahead of second-placed Inter Milan, who host mid-table Udinese on Saturday, and are moving closer to ending a 33-year wait for the league title.

Napoli coach Luciano Spalletti made five substitutions in the game ahead of Tuesday’s visit to Eintracht Frankfurt in mind. However, his team showed no sign of conserving any energy for the Champions League clash.

Kvaratskhelia opened the scoring in the 12th minute after taking possession in midfield and firing the ball into the bottom corner from the edge of the box.

Armand Lauriente struck the post in response for Sassuolo before Osimhen took over. The Nigeria striker scored a hat trick in Napoli’s 4-0 win over Sassuolo in October and seemed keen to repeat the feat.

Osimhen hit the left post in the 27th, then scored in the 33rd, when he squeezed the ball inside the near post from a narrow angle despite facing two defenders.

“We won the last few games [before Friday’s win], but there was less quality,” Napoli manager Luciano Spalletti told DAZN.

“Tonight, on the other hand, in possession, in phase management, in being a team in all things, I felt we were superior to the last games and I can classify that as a great performance.”

Kvaratskhelia, the 22-year-old Georgian nicknamed ‘Kvaradona’, continued to impress this season with 10 goals and nine assists in Serie A. He is now fourth in the scoring charts and has the most assists.

“In my opinion we suffered a couple of times because Sassuolo are well coached and play good football, so you can’t have 90 minutes of supremacy and sometimes you have to suffer,” added Spalletti.

“We are living a good moment, but nobody has the presumption to go softer and these are important signals for the future.”

Osimhen became the first Napoli player to score in seven league matches in a row since the three points for a win rule was introduced in the 1994-95 season.

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