Victor Osimhen put aside his social media storm with Napoli to help his club return to winning ways with a 4-1 win over Udinese.
Last season’s Scudetto winners came into this match on the back of a three-game winless run in Serie A, which has irritated new coach Rudi Garcia.
Osimhen’s missed penalty in the stalemate last weekend in Bologna was followed by a strange post on Napoli’s official TikTok account.
It looked like a mockery of the Nigeria international but although the striker threatened to sue, Osimhen shrugged off the attention and ended a four-game drought with a 39th-minute goal in Naples to lift the hosts into seventh place in the standings. table.
After Sunday’s penalty drama, Napoli took just a quarter of an hour to be awarded another penalty when Khvicha Kvaratskhelia was fouled in the box.
VAR was called and a penalty was eventually awarded, but Piotr Zielinski took charge in Osimhen’s place and rolled into the bottom corner in the 19th minute to make it 1-0 at the Estadio Diego Armando Maradona.
Garcia’s out-of-form side were now firmly in the lead, with Kvaratskhelia, Osimhen and Mario Rui forcing Marco Silvestri to make a save for Udinese.
Silvestri had no answer for Osimhen in the 39th minute when Matteo Politano eluded last season’s leading scorer and the Napoli number nine fired into the net for his fourth goal of the season.
Osimhen was initially reluctant to celebrate, but after a few anxious glances at the assistant referee, the offside flag was not raised and he hugged his teammates, feeling the support of the raucous home crowd.
Further applause followed in the 63rd minute when Osimhen was replaced by Giovanni Simeone, who scored, but not before Kvaratskhelia.
Georgian striker Kvaratskhelia has endured a difficult start to the season and would appreciate a gift from visiting defender Xhaka Bizhol.
A poor touch from Bijol allowed Kvaratskhelia to intercept and gain possession before he beat Silvestri with a loose ball to open his account of the season from close range in the 74th minute.
Lazar Samardzic reduced the deficit in the 80th minute, but seconds later Kvaratskhelia was back in goal as his excellent shot and cross found Simeone, who headed low into the net to complete the scoring on a much-needed positive evening for the champions.