In a dazzling display of their Serie A supremacy, Napoli, the reigning champions, showcased their dominance as they hosted Sassuolo in their inaugural home fixture of the 2023/24 season. In a spectacle that unfolded at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona on Sunday evening, Napoli asserted their authority with two goals, securing a comfortable 2-0 victory.
Napoli’s journey to this commanding triumph began last week when they rallied back from a precarious position to defeat newly-promoted Frosinone, 3-1. Victor Osimhen, the Nigerian sensation, orchestrated their victory with a sublime brace, setting the tone for their title defense. On this Sunday night, Osimhen continued his scoring spree. Follow your favourite Serie A team with attractive football betting odds from Nextbet.
The early minutes of the match saw Sassuolo’s Giacomo Raspadori come agonizingly close to breaking the deadlock, as his thunderous half-volley reverberated off the near post. However, Napoli, undeterred by the close call, surged ahead 1-0 within the opening half-hour, thanks to Osimhen’s clinical finish.
A contentious moment arose when Matteo Politano tumbled inside Sassuolo’s penalty area, leading to fervent appeals for a penalty. Initially, the referee, Antonio Giua, waved off the protests. Still, after VAR scrutiny, he altered his decision, awarding Napoli a penalty that Osimhen coolly converted, much to Rudi Garcia’s side’s delight.
Strangely, Napoli chose to nurse a slender lead, temporarily shelving their attacking ambitions. Meanwhile, Sassuolo, though scarce on clear-cut opportunities, almost exploited their hosts’ complacency. A powerful header from Ruan narrowly missed its mark from a corner kick.
The tale took a grim twist for Sassuolo as Maxime Lopez saw a direct red card just seven minutes into the second half. Reduced to ten men, their hopes of staging a comeback were dashed. Yet, Napoli offered a glimmer of opportunity, granting Raspadori a chance to level the score from the penalty spot. Unfortunately for the former Sassuolo forward, he skyward his effort, squandering the lifeline.
The misery compounded for Sassuolo when Napoli’s Giovanni Di Lorenzo surged forward only four minutes later, making it 2-0. Di Lorenzo, the captain, capitalized on a delightful pass from Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, breaking free from his marker to slot past Andrea Consigli, the Sassuolo goalkeeper.
Despite Napoli’s numerous openings to extend their lead, Sassuolo’s Consigli stood firm to prevent a three-goal deficit, reminiscent of their victory over Frosinone. However, Sassuolo could not escape a second successive loss at the dawn of the Serie A season. Meanwhile, Garcia’s charges march forward, brimming with confidence for their upcoming clash with struggling Lazio.
Sassuolo’s dismal record against Napoli, now spanning six Serie A encounters without a victory, laid bare the vulnerabilities in Dionisi’s squad. Currently languishing at the bottom of the table as one of only three teams yet to score, they eagerly anticipate redemption against Hellas Verona, the early surprise package, in the following week’s fixture. Get the latest updates from the Serie A only on Nextbet Sports.