A stunning late strike from Victor Osimhen sees Napoli strengthen their grip on first place in Serie A after a 1-0 win over Roma at a sold out Stadio Olimpico.
Jose Mourinho’s side could have moved to within a point of Napoli with a victory, but it was the visitors who got the goal they needed in a fiery contest to extend their 100 per cent unbeaten record in the league.
The first half was tight and tense with Roma keen to outmuscle Napoli at every opportunity.
The visitors thought they had a penalty in the 37th minute when Tanguy Ndombele went down under a challenge from Rui Patricio in the Roma box, but it was correctly overturned by VAR.
The beginning of the second half was scrappy before Napoli were able to muster two good chances.
In the 61st minute, Juan Jesus sliced a shot wide from close range against his former club before Victor Osimhen dragged a low effort narrowly wide eight minutes later.
But Osimhen won the game for Napoli with a moment of magic in the 81st minute.
A long ball over the top from Matteo Politano beat Chris Smalling and the Nigeria international rifled his ferocious shot on the half volley from a tight angle into the opposite corner of the net, sparking pandemonium in the away end.
TALKING POINT – ROMA SORELY MISS DYBALA
For Jose Mourinho’s gameplan to work it often requires his key attacking players to be match fit and very clinical in front of goal.
Against Napoli, Nicolo Zaniolo put in an impressive performance in a more advanced role, but Tammy Abraham – currently goalless since September 12 – continues to look out of sorts and their fragile partnership highlighted how crucial the loss of Paulo Dybala is. The Argentine is currently out until mid-November at the very earliest with a thigh injury.
Roma: Patricio (6), Mancini (5), Smalling (7), Ibanez (5), Karsdorp (5), Camara (6), Cristante (6), Spinazzola (6), Pellegrini (6), Zaniolo (7), Abraham (5)
Subs: Belotti (5), El Shaarawy (N/A), Matic (N/A), Shomurodov (N/A), Vina (N/A)
Napoli: Meret (6), Di Lorenzo (6), Jesus (6), Kim (6), Olivera (5), Lobotka (5), Ndombele (5), Lozano (6), Zielinski (6), Kvaratskhelia (6), Osimhen (7)
Subs: Elmas (6), Gaetano (N/A), Politano (N/A)
37′ – PENALTY TO NAPOLI? The Roma players are furious! Ndombele goes down under a challenge from Patricio. The Portugal international is judged to have caught the Frenchman’s legs. It’s so hard to call and IT’S GONE TO VAR! Replays suggest Patricio got the ball first… will the penalty be overturned? YES IT WILL. NO PENALTY!
61′ – ELMAS SHOT BLOCKED! – The best move of the second half so far comes to Elmas! A ball into the box finds the substitute but Smalling gets another block in to stop his shot from hitting the target. Moments later Jesus slashes a shot wide from close range!
68′ – BIG CHANCES! – Zaniolo’s cross into the box is parried away by Meret! Then all of a sudden on the counter-attack Lozano lays it off to Osimhen but he drags his shot wide of Patricio’s right post!
81′ – GOAL!! A BRILLIANT STRIKE FROM OSIMHEN! The league leaders break the deadlock and it is Osimhen with his fourth goal of the season! A long ball over the top from Politano beats Smalling and Osimhen rifles his shot on goal on the half volley which fiercely sweves into the opposite corner! What a goal!