BEVERLY HILLS, May 16, (THEWILL) – Nigeria’s Victor Osimhen’s Napoli took matters into their own hands after Saturday’s victory by Juventus over Serie A champions Inter Milan left them out of the places for next season’s UEFA Champions League in the league’s standings, when they visited Fiorentina in Sunday’s fixture.
Gennaro Gattuso’s captain Lorenzo Insigne led in front with a goal that helped them take advantage of their numerical advantage over 10-man Fiorentina, with a 2-0 win. The importance of the victory was an immediate jump to third on the table from fifth before the match began.
Napoli’s 76 points mean they are one point ahead of AC Milan and Juventus in fourth and fifth respectively, with Milan having a match at hand, which is against Cagliari later on Sunday.
What Osimhen’s side have going for them as the season rounds off is that their hard work has come to the point where qualification for elite football in Europe next season lies in their hands. Victory at home against Hellas Verona next Sunday will be enough to guarantee Champions League football for another season.
When Juve defeated Inter on Saturday they shipped themselves above Napoli pressuring Osimhen’s side to fight against a stubborn 13th-placed Fiorentina for their top four guarantee to remain.
Osimhen played a key role in the winning goal in the 67th minute. It was his cross that brilliant captain Insigne knocked down for Zielinski, who took a first-time shot that initially seemed to be going wide until it took a massive deflection off Lorenzo Venuti.
The goal sparked wild celebrations, particularly from their third choice goalkeeper, Nikita Contini, who rushed onto the pitch to celebrate, which did not go down well for the Fiorentina side. He was flashed a yellow card, as a result.
Osimhen was substituted in the 84th minute as Gattuso started looking ahead to their next match and relaxing players. Insigne could have added flourish to the scoreline, but his free kick was deflected over the bar.
The two goals scored were enough for all three points to go home with Napoli, however, and Gattuso’s charges will see their hard work rewarded if they can finish the season with a final victory at their Diego Armando Maradona Stadium in Naples against Verona next week.