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Roma vs Napoli 0-1: Osihmen silences the Stadio Olimpico

With plenty to play for this evening within the Serie A, it was Napoli that managed seize all three points in an emphatic 1-0 victory over a strong defensive Roma side at the Stadio Olimpico.

Within the opening minutes, it was Napoli who dictated the game as their fast build-up play from the back was difficult for Mourinho’s men to cope with.

A quick-fire goal from kick-off almost stunned the hosts as full-back Giovanni Di Lorenzo slithered a brilliant pass to Hirving Lozano, but the Mexican winger failed to latch onto the ball.

Spalletti’s high-press was off the ball was extremely troublesome for the hosts, resulting in the Giallorossi having trouble constructing plays from the back-end of the field. As a result, several passes were intercepted and transformed into threatening counter attacks, which were diffused following some unsteady defending by the back-line.

After a wearisome ten minutes, Roma eased into the game as they found success on the counter along the flanks. The Dutchman Rick Karsdorp slotted a well-placed pass for Nicolo Zaniolo out-wide into space. The 22 year-old attempted an audacious effort, but his curling shot from long-range went wide of goal and above the target.

Shortly after, box-to-box midfielder Mady Camara dispossessed Tanguy Ndombele within the central area of the park and burst with pace on the counter.  The Guinean international dispatched  a well-weighted pass for Tammy Abraham within the box, but the English talisman’s attempt to tuck the ball into the low-corner was minimally off the mark.

After a cagey 20 minutes, I Partenopei increased their precision and urgency as they began to play with far more creativity. Full-back Mathias Olivera and Khvicha Kvaratskhelia caused a great deal of trouble through the use of their vibrant one-two combinations. The two individuals managed to break the defensive shape around the half-hour mark, allowing the Uruguayan to run on the break.

The former Getafe defender delivered a brilliant cross to Lozano towards the second post as he stretched out in an acrobatic matter to steer the ball towards goal, but his impressive attempt hit the side netting.

Quickly after, Ndombele and Piotr Zielinski combined in fine fashion towards the edge of the box, allowing the Frenchman to be positioned in a one v one scenario. The 25 year-old managed to manoeuvre past Chris Smalling with the use of some quick dribbling skills and was on the break, forcing Rui Patricio to come out and alleviate the stress.

Initially, the officiator handed Napoli a penalty as a result of the French international falling to the ground. However, after further assessment through VAR, the decision was reversed as it was clear that the Giallorossi shot-stopper punched the ball prior to the contact with Ndombele.

Despite some improvements made within the final third of the pitch from Spalletti’s men, I Partenopei were forced to settle with a scoreless half as Zielinski’s and Lozano’s long-range efforts towards the end of the first 45 were handled by the 33 year-old keeper with ease.

After the break, the Azzurri established their dominance as Kvaratskhelia broke on the counter to find Olivera in order to set up Lozano out-wide. The 27 year-old released a venomous strike that was ecstatically stopped by Patricio.

The corner from the well-timed save landed perfectly for Juan Jesus within the middle of the box after several deflections, but the former Roma defender was unable to find the back of the net.

As the game progressed, Roma seized a great opportunity as Zaniolo accelerated on the right-side and cut the ball back towards the center of the box to find one of his teammates. However, Alex Meret took matters into his own hands and came out of his net to prevent any attacking threat, punching the ball out of the danger zone and enabling a counter.

The Polish international Zielinski picked out Kvrartskhelia on the run into space as Napoli entered the attacking phase. The 21 year-old performed an excellent dip of the shoulder to twist past Italian defender Gianluca Mancini, but his shot was blocked by an authoritative sliding challenge from Smalling.

With 20 minutes to go, Napoli kept pushing offensively as Lozano executed a fabulous over-the-top ball for Victor Osihmen on the break. The Nigerian striker brought the ball down well with a stunning first touch as he accelerated with a great deal of pace and pulled the trigger to fire a low-driven shot towards the second post. Despite the impressive endeavour, The Napoli marksman’s shot went wide by extremely thin margins.

After an extensive amount of opportunities to take the lead, Matteo Politano swept a through ball towards Osihmen to break on the counter. The 23 year-old kept his cool as shielded the ball brilliantly to turn the English international Smalling inside-out and fired a missile towards the second post in the back of the net to break the deadlock with less than ten minutes to go.

In the end, it was Napoli who sealed all three points in a very dense and compact fixture. As a result, Spalletti’s side have extended their streak to 11 consecutive wins across all competitions, increasing their lead within the Serie A as they now possess 26 points.

On the other hand, Roma have dropped into fifth with a total of 22 points, seven points adrift from I Partenopei and solely one point above Inter and Udinese.

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21 years old, football writer for Footitalia. Calcio is my life and passion.
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