Napoli returned to their winning ways on Sunday, beating Sampdoria 2-0 at Luigi Ferraris Stadium in Genoa, Italy.
Victor Osimhen and Elif Elmas provided the two goals in what turned out to be a very physical game, with Sampdoria ending the match with 10 men.
Napoli started the game with what has previously proven to be a winning combination of Osimhen and Khvicha Kvaratskhelia up front and a strong backline of Kim Min-jae, Giovanni Di Lorenzo, Mário Rui and Juan Jesus.
Kim was substituted off at half time, marking the first game of his Serie A career where he has failed to play the full 90 minutes. Addressing concerns about his fitness after the game, Napoli manager Luciano Spalletti said Kim’s departure was only a precaution.
“He felt the muscle harden and we didn’t want to risk losing him for a few months,” Spalletti said after the game. “He needs time to really get that match tempo back and we followed the indications of the medical staff.”
Kvaratskhelia also made an early departure in the 63rd minute amid concerns that he has lost his edge following the long World Cup break, which he spent in training as Georgia did not qualify for the tournament.
“He probably just needs to find that sharpness and match fitness,” Spalletti said. “Don’t forget, he stopped playing even before the others because he had that back injury, so it has been an even longer break for him.”
Sunday’s game came just four days after Napoli suffered their very first loss of the 2022 season to Inter Milan on Wednesday.
The loss did little to really hurt Napoli, however, as the Partenopei still sit seven points clear at the top of the table with 14 wins, two draws and now one loss to their name.
The win on Sunday, despite being against a much lower ranked team, will still come as a huge relief for Napoli fans.
The Inter Milan game had actually been Napoli’s second loss in a row — an admittedly stripped back squad earlier lost 4-1 to LOSC Lille in a friendly — raising some concerns that the Italian club would not be able to return to the one-loss-across-all-competitions form they’d enjoyed before the break.
Sunday’s win, 토토사이트 while scrappier that it perhaps ought to have been against Sampdoria, suggests things are getting back on track.
The real test of whether that is true or not comes later this week, when the Partenopei take on second-place side Juventus at home on Friday.