Thursday, May 23, 2024

Eintracht Frankfurt 0-2 Napoli: What Were The Key Talking Points Victor Osimhen Fires Napoli To A First-Leg Advantage?

Tom Dunstan in Editorial, UEFA Champions League 22 Feb 2023

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Putting in yet another stellar display on Tuesday night, Napoli opened their Champions League knockout stage adventure with a 2-0 victory away at German outfit Eintracht Frankfurt.

While Khvicha Kvaratskhelia might have missed from the penalty spot nine minutes before the break, the Italian icons didn’t have to get out of third gear as they run rampant on either side of the interval.

With the red-hot Victor Osimhen continuing on his remarkable free-scoring run as the ex-Lille starlet opened the scoring moments before the half-time break, Napoli underlined why many have tipped Luciano Spalletti’s side as a Champions League dark horse in 2023.

Completing what was a dominant first-leg showdown at Deutsche Bank Park as Giovanni Di Lorenzo finished off the job midway through the second-half, Eintracht Frankfurt really couldn’t have wished for a worse start to their knockout stage run.

Suffering a huge blow after attacking talisman Randal Kolo Muani was shown a straight red card just 12 minutes after the break, there is no doubt that Napoli find themselves sat in pole position.

On a night when the Azzurri laid down a real Champions League marker, we have taken a look at the main talking points.

Napoli are a genuine Champions League contender

Holding a stunning 15-point buffer at the top of the Serie A table and cruising towards a first domestic crown since 1990, Napoli really are in the midst of what has become a famous campaign.

Only continuing to gain a string of plaudits from across Europe this season, the Italian icons should be smelling the chance to spring a major Champions League upset this year.

Breezing their way to the knockout stage ahead of Premier League giants Liverpool, Spalletti’s high-flying squad have certainly laid down a marker to the rest of Europe’s elite.

Entering the knockout stage holding the best-attacking tally of any side still competing in this season’s tournament, the former Inter Milan boss will know that his side are firmly sat in pole position following Tuesday’s deserved 2-0 victory.

With some in their camp starting to believe that Napoli could make a genuine charge at being crowned domestic and European champions in 2023, Spalletti’s side have proven they can mount a real crack at the history books this year.

Can anyone stop Osimhen?

Quickly gaining a reputation for across the continent for their free-scoring displays in the final third, it has been Napoli’s red-hot attacking talisman who has stolen plenty of the headlines.

In the midst of what has become a remarkable purple patch on either side of the World Cup’s winter break, Osimhen has only underlined his status as one of Europe’s most lethal number nines.

Opening the scoring on Tuesday night and causing Frankfurt’s leaky defence a string of issues, the 24-year-old has now found the net in each of his last six consecutive appearances across all formats.

Appearing to breeze his way towards this season’s Serie A Golden Boot and really spearheading Napoli’s iconic run, Osimhen has also recorded a staggering 18 strikes in as many matchups.

With continued suggestions that Premier League giants such as Manchester United and Chelsea are all desperate to snap up the ex-Lille man this summer, the Azzurri rightfully value their talisman in the region of £100million.

Mission impossible without Kolo Muani

Although Eintracht Frankfurt might have opened Tuesday’s first-leg showdown well aware that they faced a real challenge on home soil, the Bundesliga outfit had been riding an extended wave of momentum.

Despite losing just a pair of their previous 19 straight appearances across all competitions as they opened their knockout stage adventure here, Oliver Glasner’s men failed to lay any real blow on Napoli.

Along with needing a minor miracle when they travel out to Naples on March 15th, the former Wolfsburg boss will have a real headache over how his side will compete without their attacking all-star.

While Osimhen might have continued to spearhead Napoli’s domestic romp this season, Frankfurt have their own attacking talisman who has gained a string of plaudits from across Europe.

However, although Kolo Muani might have notched seven post-World Cup strikes heading into Tuesday’s battle, the French international was shown a straight red just 12 minutes after the restart and will now miss Frankfurt’s crucial second-leg meeting.

Match Report

Eintracht Frankfurt: Trapp, Tuta, Jakic, Ndicka, Buta, Kamada, Sow, Max, Lindstrom, Gotze, Kolo Muani

Subs: Knauff, Lenz, Maury, Alidou

Napoli: Meret, Di Lorenzo, Rrahmani, Kim, Olivera, Zielinski, Lobotka, Anguissa, Lozano, Osimhen, Kvaratskhelia

Subs: Ndombele, Politano, Simeone, Elmas

Goals: Osimhen (40′), Di Lorenzo (65′)

Yellow Cards: Eintracht Frankfurt: Elmas, Gotze – Napoli: Kim

Red Cards: Kolo Muani

Referee: Artur Dias Soares

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Dunstan


Formerly of The Independent, Tom has spent the past six years as one of our senior writers and betting experts. Alongside working with numerous publications from across the globe, Tom also graduated from the University of Falmouth in 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Digital Media.
Spending almost the past decade working in countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Canada, he has also spent time featuring in sports radio. Tom can be followed on Instagram - @iamtomdunstan

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