Frankfurt 0-2 Napoli: Osimhen inspires Napoli to first-leg lead
Tuesday, 21 February 2023
Napoli take a two-goal lead back to the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona in the Champions League round of 16 after Victor Osimhen's close-range strike and Giovanni Di Lorenzo's cool finish at ten-man Frankfurt.
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Luciano Spalletti's Serie A pacesetters Napoli took a major step towards a first UEFA Champions League quarter-final appearance with a 2-0 victory against ten-man Eintracht Frankfurt in the first leg of their round of 16 tie.
34': Lozano drive cannons off upright
36': Trapp keeps out Kvaratskhelia penalty
40': Osimhen strikes from close range
58': Kolo Muani sent off for challenge on Zambo Anguissa
65': Di Lorenzo caps neat Napoli move
Match in brief: Napoli take strides towards quarter-final
The hosts had the better of the opening exchanges as both Randal Kolo Muani and Mario Götze fired wide in the first ten minutes.
Napoli slowly gained control, however, Kevin Trapp forced to keep out Khvicha Kvaratskhelia and Piotr Zieliński efforts from the edge of the box.
The Partenopei's attacking prowess came to the fore just after the half-hour when Hirving Lozano burst into the area and blasted a low effort against the base of the post. From the rebound, Aurélio Buta sent Victor Osimhen tumbling but Kvaratskhelia's fierce spot kick was repelled by Europa League final hero Trapp.
The Serie A leaders did not have to wait long for their next opportunity. When Lozano was sent racing down the right flank, his pinpoint centre picked out the run of Osimhen, who made no mistake from close range.
Matthias Sammer, Amazon Prime
"This was a day when a lot of things went against Frankfurt. You have to fight and not make any individual mistakes. Napoli are a finely-oiled machine that does not make errors. They kept the tempo high and also kept up the pace."
Frankfurt were unable to recreate their early pressure, and their task was made all the more difficult when striker Kolo Muani was dismissed just before the hour for a challenge on André-Frank Zambo Anguissa.
Seven minutes later, Zambo Anguissa's lofted return pass picked out the run of Kvaratskhelia, and the Georgian international's intelligent back-heel gave visiting skipper Giovanni Di Lorenzo the time to place an effort past Trapp and inside the far post.
Frankfurt went in search of foothold in the tie in the closing stages, but Daichi Kamada was unable to apply the finish to a flowing move from the home side.
PlayStation® Player of the Match: Hirving Lozano (Napoli)
"A theme throughout his performance was the threat in transition, either through an effective first pass or getting beyond the defence. He provided a quality end product and was fantastic when out of possession, both with his speed and tenacity."
UEFA Technical Observer panel
Steffen Potter, Frankfurt reporter
Tonight we witnessed a demonstration of why Napoli are runaway leaders in Serie A and that Frankfurt aren't quite at that level yet. It will be very hard for them to come back from this, especially with Oliver Glasner's side having to make the Italy trip without Kolo Muani and having a hard time scoring in this competition anyway.
Vieri Capretta, Napoli reporter
A strong, solid performance by Napoli, who created a lot of chances and gave away very few. Osimhen was unstoppable, Lozano on point, Di Lorenzo scored a great goal and Kvaratskhelia put in a strong shift despite the penalty miss. The issue is they should have probably scored more as they were the better side throughout; in control, quick on the break, perfect at the back.
Giovanni Di Lorenzo, Napoli captain, speaking to Sky Sport: "We are happy about this win, at a difficult ground against a strong side. We should have scored more. They started off well, then with time we grew into this game with our possession. We knew how important this was, and we had the right focus."
Luciano Spalletti, Napoli coach, speaking to Sky Sport: "It was an end-to-end game, which we want and thrive in. We need to stay calm, very calm. There's the second leg still. Our biggest enemy is to think it's done."
Jesper Lindstrøm, Frankfurt forward: "I feel sorry for the fans that we couldn't perform better tonight. It was tough, they are one of the best sides in Europe at the moment; so full of confidence, they rarely ever lose. To get more out of the return game, we must stay calm – especially when we are on the ball. We gave it away too easily at times tonight."
Oliver Glasner, Frankfurt coach: "They had a very good 20, 25 minutes and made good use of that. We still have a chance, it is not a great one, but we can still take it. We are not going to Napoli as tourists. If we score the opener, it's 1-0, then it is likely that they will get a little nervous."
- Victor Osimhen became the youngest player to score in the UEFA Champions League knockout stage for Napoli, aged 24 years 54 days.
- The Nigerian international has now struck ten goals in the Partenopei's last nine outings in all competitions.
- This was Napoli's first away victory in the UEFA Champions League knockout rounds.
- The Serie A club have struck 22 goals in this season's competition, more than any other side.
- Frankfurt have failed to score in three of their four UEFA Champions League home matches this season.
Fantasy star performers
Giovanni Di Lorenzo – 13
Hirving Lozano – 10
Kevin Trapp – 8
Frankfurt: Trapp; Tuta, Jakić, N'Dicka; Buta (Knauff 69), Kamada, Sow, Max (Lenz 90); Lindstrøm (Borré 69), Kolo Muani, Götze (Alidou 81)
Napoli: Meret; Di Lorenzo, Rrahmani, Kim, Olivera; Zambo Anguissa (Ndombélé 80), Lobotka, Zieliński; Lozano (Elmas 80), Osimhen (Simeone 84), Kvaratskhelia (Politano 84)
The second leg takes place at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona in Naples on 15 March (21:00 CET).