Napoli show they can manage without Osimhen in Lecce win

Napoli show they can manage without Osimhen in Lecce win

Ayoola Kelechi 20:11 - 07.04.2023

Napoli won without Osimhen after a difficult trip to Lecce was decided by a freak own goal

Napoli took a step close to their first Serie A title since 1990 after a hard-fought win over Lecce on Friday night to temporarily go 19 points clear at the top of the league with chasers Lazio and AC Milan yet to play. 

Napoli were without Super Eagles striker Victor Osimhen for the second game in a row, but unlike their disastrous outing against Milan that saw them hammered 4-0, Napoli gave a much better account of themselves away to Lecce, winning 2-1 thanks to a Wladimiro Falcone howler in the 64th minute. 

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The win moves Napoli a step closer to the Scudetto, while pushing Lecce towards the relegation zone after I Lupi recorded their fifth loss in a row. 

How it happened

Napoli were reeling from their humiliating loss against Milan from the previous game week and sought to right their wrongs with a victory over struggling Lecce. 

The league leaders started the game in the expected fashion, asserting their dominance over Lecce early on and soon took an early lead when captain Giovanni Di Lorenzo headed in from a Kim Min-Jae knockdown to make it 1-0 to Napoli. 

I Partenopei continued to press their hosts in search of a second goal, but nothing came from their pressure as Lecce started to show some fangs of their own. 

Napoli were fortunate to see out the first half with a 1-0 lead after Lecce found a number of openings in the league leaders' defence, but failed to capitalise on them before the half-time whistle. 

The visitors were not so lucky after the break as Lecce again pilled pressure in search of an equaliser and found it through Federico Di Francesco, who pulled the sides level with an assured tap-in. 

Buoyed by the equaliser, Lecce tried to go all-out for an improbable winner and the move backfired as Napoli found the back of the net through no real effort of theirs. 

Lecce goalkeeper Falcone made a mess of a back-pass header from Antonino Gallo and both players could only watch on as the ball found its way to the et, giving Napoli a 2-1 lead with less than 30 minutes to be played. 

Napoli hung on to the lead and claimed all three points in a game that propbably will not make it to the highlight reel of their trophy celebrations at the end of the season, but was still vital all the same.