Osimhen brace sends Napoli into last eight for first time
Napoli forward Victor Osimhen struck either side of the break to steer the Italians to a comfortable 3-0 victory over Eintracht Frankfurt on Wednesday and into the Champions League quarter-finals for the first time.
The 24-year-old Nigeria international, who also scored in their 2-0 win over Eintracht in Germany, scored with a header in first-half stoppage time.
Osimhen bagged his 23rd goal in 28 matches in all competitions this season with a tap-in after a quick four-pass Napoli combination in the 53rd minute before Piotr Zielinski converted a penalty to secure a 5-0 aggregate win.
Napoli are the third Italian team to advance to the quarters after Inter and AC Milan.
“It wasn’t easy, but we managed to reach a historical goal for Napoli,” coach Luciano Spalletti said. “I hope we enjoy it now with the whole team and together with the fans.”
“It is important to have the attitude we had tonight. At the beginning we didn’t have much quality, but we did well and didn’t concede.”
“Osimhen is a very strong footballer. He is able to cut behind defenders, and now he is also playing more with the team, and we’re happy.”
Prior to the game fighting broke out in the Italian city as fans set a police car on fire and threw stones at buses and police.
Italian authorities had banned German fans from attending the game amid concerns about possible violence, but some Eintracht supporters made the trip to Italy anyway.
It was peaceful inside the Diego Maradona stadium and the hosts were in control from the start.
Khvicha Kvaratskhelia went close with a mazy run into the box in the 19th minute and the Georgian was denied again in the 43rd with keeper Kevin Trapp kicking the winger’s close-range shot wide.
Osimhen opened the scoring in first-half stoppage time after being given far too much space in the box to rise high and head in a measured Matteo Politano cross.
That meant Europa League champions Frankfurt, who were missing their two top strikers, suspended Randal Kolo Muani and injured Jesper Lindstrom, needed three goals, but they struggled against a well-drilled Napoli defence.
They were also under pressure from Napoli’s relentless pressing game and it was Osimhen who scored again. He tapped in from close range to kill off any hopes of a German comeback, becoming the first Napoli player to score in both legs of a Champions League knockout match.
“We managed to keep up with them for parts of the game,” said Frankfurt captain Sebastian Rode. “But we lost possession before the goals and that broke us. We were also lacking punch in the final third of the pitch.”
The Serie A leaders capped a superb two-legged performance with Zielinski’s penalty after the Pole was brought down in the box.