The Stadio Diego Armando Maradona witnessed a second-half Napoli masterclass as Victor Osimhen’s precise finishing skills handed ten-man Udinese a 2-1 defeat. The ‘Zebrette’ have now failed to win in their last 13 matches in Naples.
Napoli’s form has been somewhat unpredictable in recent weeks, and they attempted to make amends right from the start against Udinese. However, it was their opponents who had the first clear opening of the game when striker Beto narrowly missed with a diving header. Soon after, Lorenzo Insigne had a similar chance at the other end, but he too failed to hit the target.
Just as the ‘Partenopei’ were finding their groove, Gerard Deulofeu finished beautifully into the bottom left corner midway through the half, perhaps unexpectedly given the home side opened the deadlock in three of their last five league outings coming into this clash. Napoli did have two opportunities to level the scores before HT via Insigne and Fabián Ruiz, but Udinese shot-stopper Marco Silvestri’s terrific reflexes made sure Luciano Spalletti’s men headed down the tunnel in the ascendancy.
A reinvigorated Napoli side took to the field and turned the match on its head within twenty minutes of the restart, thanks to a quick-fire brace from Osimhen. The Nigerian’s first was a pinpoint header, while he swept home with aplomb from inside the box for his second. Both teams headed into the final quarter-hour with contrasting morales, and a red card for Pablo Marí ten minutes before FT didn’t make the visitors’ already difficult task any easier. However, Napoli did survive a late scare after a potential handball was denied by VAR, right at the death.
The hosts’ superior second half inflicted an eighth consecutive loss in Naples on Udinese, while Luciano Spalletti’s men now top the Serie A standings, at least momentarily. With this defeat, Udinese have now conceded two or more goals in each of their last four visits to southern Italy.