Napoli striker Victor Osimhen scored a late goal in their 3-2 defeat at home to Victor Moses’ Spartak Moscow on matchday two of the UEFA Europa League at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona in Naples.
Despite scoring in every match he has appeared in for Napoli this month, including their 2-2 draw against Leicester City, Osimhen was granted a breather and named on the bench for their second group game against Spartak Moscow, for whom ex-Super Eagles star Victor Moses was starting.
Napoli wasted no time in taking the lead as Macedonian midfielder Eljif Elmas scored only 11 seconds into the match. Spartak Moscow’s goalkeeper, under pressure from Matteo Politano, fumbled a cross from Lorenzo Insigne, allowing Elmas to slot home from just inside the box and give Napoli an early lead.
Spartak Moscow began to ask questions in a bid to draw themselves level, and saw their cause helped in the 30th minute when Napoli left-back Mario Rui was sent off for a dangerous challenge on Moses. The referee initially awarded a yellow card, but after consulting the VAR, Rui was sent off for Napoli. Despite their numerical disadvantage, Napoli held on to their lead and went into the break with their lead intact.
Napoli manager Luciano Spalletti opted to bring on his highest goalscorer at halftime, replacing Andrea Petagna with Osimhen. Spartak returned from the break with more vigour and energy and deservedly equalised after only ten minutes of the second half.
Dutch winger Quincy Promes fired home his first goal of the UEFA Europa League in the 55th minute after sending a right-footed shot past Napoli goalkeeper Alex Meret following a corner.
Napoli failed to really stretch their visitors and were the architects of their own undoing as Spartak Moscow took the lead through Mikhail Ignatov after a mistake in midfield from Fabian Ruiz in the 80th minute.
Spartak Moscow were reduced to ten men as Maximiliano Caufriez received a second yellow card for a foul on Osimhen just two minutes after their goal.
Another error at the back cost Napoli dearly at the death as Spartak Moscow put the game firmly beyond them. Senegalese centre back Kalidou Koulibaly, in an attempt to find a forward pass, saw his pass intercepted by an opponent, resulting in a counter attack that ended with Promes tapping the ball into an empty net in the 90th minute.
Despite going two goals down, Napoli would pull one back through Osimhen in the 94th minute as the striker was perfectly positioned to tap in a low cross from Giovanni Di Lorenzo. It was the striker’s seventh goal in the month of September, putting his goals tally higher than that of Robert Lewandowski, Erling Haaland and Cristiano Ronaldo. Only Real Madrid captain Karim Benzema scored as many goals as Osimhen in Europe’s top five leagues in September.
Napoli sit at the bottom of the group alongside Leicester City after Polish side Legia Warsaw defeated Leicester 1-0 in the other game. Super Eagles duo of Kelechi Iheanacho and Wilfred Ndidi missed out on the game, with Ndidi missing out due to injury and Iheanacho missing out due to immigration problems.