Empoli, February 26 (BNA): A goal by striker Victor Osimhen and an own goal by Empoli defender Ardian Ismagli gave Napoli a 2-0 away victory in Serie A today, Saturday, to continue its lead over second-placed Inter Milan. to an astonishing 18 points.
Reuters reported that Napoli, who kept a clean sheet in the last four league matches for the second time under the leadership of coach Luciano Spalletti, who had previously done so in October 2021, remains at the top of the standings with 65 points.
“Everyone is playing their lives against us,” Spalletti told DAZN.
“The fact that we keep our distance from the others (in the standings) is a sign that the team has understood what spirit should be.
“Everyone there is wondering about the future (and heroism) but I say it’s better to have an egg today than a chicken tomorrow.”
Napoli is seeking its first Italian league title since 1989-90, after being runners-up four times since 2013.
They dominated the game from the start, pushing Empoli into the middle of the table enough to pressure Ismagli to open the scoring with an own goal in the 17th minute.
Napoli winger Khavisa Kvaratskhelia sent a pass high from the edge of the penalty area to midfielder Piotr Zielinski who saw Osimhen in front of goal but before his cross could reach the striker, Ismagli smashed the ball home.
Empoli had the chance to equalize from distance three minutes later, but a close-range shot from midfielder Liam Henderson was saved by Napoli goalkeeper Alex Merritt.
Osimhen made it 2-0 for Napoli just before the half-hour mark, tapping in a rebound from close range after Empoli goalkeeper Guglielmo Vicario parried a Kvaratskhelia shot into the Nigerian’s path.
Minutes later Vicario saved what should have been another goal from the in-form Osimhen.
The Nigerian striker has now scored in each of his last eight Serie A matches, becoming the first player to score in eight consecutive Serie A matches since Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese notched 11 goals in the 2019-20 season.
Osimhen found the net again 15 minutes into the second half but his acrobatic effort was ruled out for offside.
The visitors were left with ten men in the 67th minute after defender Mario Rui received a straight red for fouling Empoli striker Francesco Caputo.
Empoli, who has not won in its last five matches, ranks 12th with 28 points.
Next Napoli will host Lazio on Friday while Empoli travel to 11th-placed Monza the next day.