Napoli achieved a historic achievement after reaching the quarter-finals for the first time in its history, by defeating its German guest, Eintracht Frankfurt, 3-0, on Wednesday, in the second leg of the Champions League final.
The meeting was held without the presence of the fans of the German guest in the stands of the “Diego Armando Maradona” stadium, by decision of the local authorities, but that did not prevent them from traveling to southern Italy and clashing with the police, with the support of fans of the local competitor, Atalanta, according to the media.
And after winning the first leg outside the bases 2-0, coach Luciano Spalletti’s team renewed its supremacy over the German team, which is competing in the main continental competition for the first time, as a result of winning the “Europa League” title last season.
As usual, Nigerian Victor Osimhen was the key to Napoli’s victory by scoring a goal in each half (2 + 45 and 53), raising his tally to four goals in the Champions League and 23 in 28 games in all competitions this season, before adding Poland’s Piotr Zelensky III from a penalty kick ( 64).
And Napoli confirmed that what he is achieving locally and moving steadily towards winning the Italian League title for the first time since 1990, with an 18-point lead over his closest pursuers, is not a coincidence, but was accompanied by this first continental achievement of its kind in the Champions League.
The group stage campaign was a clear indication of Napoli’s capabilities this season, as its group topped Liverpool (4-1), Dutch Ajax (4-1, 6-1) and Scottish Rangers (3-0, 3-0).
The southern club is now waiting for where the quarter-final draw scheduled for Friday will place it, as it faces the possibility of meeting any of its citizens, Inter and Milan, who also qualified for the quarter-finals, whose draw will be open, which means allowing confrontations between teams from the same country or between teams that were together in the group stage.
In a city that had not dreamed of glory since the days of the late Argentine legend Diego Armando Maradona, Osimhen and Georgian Khvicha Kvaratskhelia came to ignite the enthusiasm of the Naples fans again and give them hope not only to win the local league title, but also to achieve the miracle of winning the Champions League title.
Contrary to the end of last season and the state of pessimism that afflicted the public after losing the title battle to Milan in the last few meters, Napoli finds itself in a state of euphoria in light of its brilliance locally and its steadfast creep towards winning the domestic league without any significant competition.
Napoli started the match strongly and was close to opening the scoring since the second minute, with a shot from Matteo Politano, but Kevin Trapp was on the lookout for him, then he came back to intervene again in the face of a shot from the outskirts of the area by Osimhen (16), who was originally offside, and then to an attempt by “Kafara” after an incursion. Wonderful from the Georgian who shot from a difficult angle (19).
With the exception of Mario Gotze alone, goalkeeper Alex Merritt intervened brilliantly to block him (32), the German guest did little in the first half, which the Italian host finished in the best way, as after he missed another opportunity through “Kafara” (43), Osimhen gave him the lead in time. Substitution with a header after a neat cross from Politano (2 + 45).
And at the beginning of the second half, Osimhen struck again, this time after he pounced on the ball and turned it into the net, following a collective and cross play by Giovanni Di Lorenzo (53).
And after several chances that followed the goal, most notably to Kfaratskhelia, Napoli dealt the fatal blow to its German guest from a penalty kick that Zelinsky snatched and executed himself (64).
And after being assured of the result, Spalletti decided to rest Osimhen, “Kafara”, Zelinski and Politano in preparation for the resumption of his wonderful journey in the Italian League.