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Serie A: Osimhen and Ademola Lookman Fire Blank, But Napoli Beats Atalanta to Cling Unto Top Spot

March, 12 2023.

Second half goals by winger Khvicha Kvaratskhelia and defender Amir Rrahmani steered runaway Serie A leaders SSC Napoli to a comfortable 2-0 home win over Atalanta Bergamo, in a clash that pitted two Super Eagles strikers, Victor Osimhen and Ademola Lookman against each other, on Saturday.


Whilst the defeat extended the visitors’ winless streak to four games, victory for Napoli at the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium in Naples, ensured that Napoli extended their lead at the top of the Italian top flight table to 50 points - a whopping 18 points clear of second placed Inter Milan, who were 1-2 losers to lowly Spezia on Friday night.


Napoli, who suffered only their second league defeat last week at home to SS Lazio, thus returned to winning ways, but their influential striker and Serie A top scorer Osimhen was unable to add to his tally of 19 league goals, same as Lookman who also fired blank as sixth-placed Atalanta ended up on the losing side.


Atalanta, who were held to a goalless draw by Udinese last weekend, and has not scored in any of their last three games remain sixth on 42 points, seven above seventh-placed Juventus and Bologna in eighth, although both are with a game in hand and Udinese are ninth.


With Gian Piero Gasperini in charge since 2016, Atalanta had previously only once failed to score in three successive league games, in October 2018.


In-form striker Osimhen could have given Napoli the lead 3 minutes into the second half but the alert Atalanta keeper dived low to save his audacious overhead kick.


Osimhen eventually set up Kvaratskhelia, who slalomed inside the box before putting Napoli in front, at 60th minute, with a powerful strike into the roof of the net for his 11th goal of the season.


Atalanta who failed to have a shot on target in the first half, could have leveled in the 73rd minute through forward Luis Muriel whose low shot was denied by Napoli keeper, Pierluigi Gollini.


Atalanta striker Duvan Zapata had a chance to head home seconds later, but Gollini pulled off another great save.


Atalanta, who failed to have a shot on target in the first half, could have levelled in the 73rd minute through forward Luis Muriel whose low shot was denied by Napoli keeper Pierluigi Gollini.


Napoli, who host Eintracht Frankfurt of Germany in the UEFA Champions League last-16 second leg on Wednesday, will next travel to Torino in Serie A on March 19.


On the other hand, Lookman and Atalanta will hope to get back to winning ways when they host 14th-placed Empoli on Friday.

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