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Napoli remain firmly in the Serie A title race after overcoming Hellas Verona in a dogged contest that came to life in the closing stages.

The hosts entered the contest in a downbeat mood after losing 1-0 to title rivals Inter Milan last weekend. Knowing they could ill afford any more slip-ups, the ‘Partenopei’ took the initiative and hit the front early at the Stadio Marcantonio Bentegodi courtesy of Victor Osimhen’s eighth league goal of the season. Matteo Politano’s precise floated delivery from the right found Osimhen, who powerfully headed the ball past a helpless Lorenzo Montipò.

Osimhen’s opener settled Napoli nerves, and with momentum in their favour, the visitors began to search for a second, with Fabián Ruiz forcing Montipò into a smart save. At the other end of the pitch, Verona failed to register a shot on target in an underwhelming first-half performance, despite enjoying 56% of the possession.

Only Sassuolo have scored more league goals than Verona in 2022, but a usually dangerous attack was continuing to struggle following the restart. The encounter remained finely poised as it entered the final 20 minutes, but that quickly changed, when Osimhen struck for the second time in the contest. Giovanni Di Lorenzo was the provider, cutting the ball back into the path of the Nigeria international, who swept home with ease.

With the points seemingly wrapped up, Hellas Verona dealt the visitors a blow by pulling a goal back with their first shot on target, as Davide Faraoni nodded home Adrien Tameze’s teasing cross to set up a nervy finale.

However, dreams of a comeback were crushed when the hosts were reduced to ten men following Federico Ceccherini’s second yellow-card offence, which helped Napoli hold on to extend their unbeaten away run to eight matches in all competitions. Verona’s frustration was visible, with Faraoni receiving a second yellow card after the final whistle.

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