Putting in another thrilling Champions League display on Wednesday night, Napoli booked their quarter-final ticket after cruising to a 3-0 romp against Eintracht Frankfurt.
Simply looking to finish off the job and avoid a European collapse at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona after picking up a 2-0 first-leg win out in Germany on February 21st, the Italian high-flyers have certainly laid down a real marker.
With attacking talisman Victor Osimhen opening the scoring just seconds before the half-time break, it will be the Nigerian marksman who will steal most of the headlines here.
Eventually leaving Naples with another Champions League brace before Polish international Piotr Zielinski converted from the spot just after the hour mark, Osimhen and co hardly had to get out of second gear for large spells.
Storming their way to a routine 5-0 victory over the past few weeks and punching their quarter-final spot without breaking much of a sweat, Napoli also piled more pressure onto an Eintracht Frankfurt squad who are enduring a recent wobble.
On a night when Luciano Spalletti’s side laid down a heavyweights Champions League marker, what did we learn from Wednesday’s showdown?
Napoli are a genuine Champions League contender this season
Making an immediate return to winning ways last weekend as they picked up some perfect momentum thanks to a 2-0 victory at home against Atalanta, Napoli find themselves in the midst of what has become a history-making campaign.
Already cementing their spot as Europe’s surprise package this season, the Italian icons are breezing their way to a first Serie A crown since way back in 1990.
Only continuing to gain a string of plaudits on either side of the World Cup’s festive break, the Azzurri will also be starting to believe that they can mount a genuine Champions League charge this season.
Holding a remarkable 18-point buffer at the top of the Serie A table and looking to secure what would be a famous European and domestic sweep this year, Wednesday’s performance was certainly a major statement of intent.
Punching their Champions League quarter-final ticket in a rampant fashion, it is no secret that Spalletti’s men have quickly gained a reputation for their free-scoring displays in the final third.
While the likes of Manchester City might still find themselves tipped as a leading contender to claim a first European crown in 2023, there are few teams that would be relishing a quarter-final showdown against Napoli.
Osimhen is on the same level as Haaland
While it might have been a certain Erling Haaland who stole of the headlines on Tuesday night as the Manchester City sensation bagged five goals against RB Leipzig, it was Osimhen’s time to take center stage here.
With Napoli already mustering 19 Champions League strikes on their European adventure this season, there is no doubt that Napoli’s attacking talisman has played a crucial role.
Already cementing his spot as a modern-day icon at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona, Osimhen has only continued to underline his position as one of Europe’s most lethal number nines.
Eventually clinching a brace in Wednesday’s 3-0 romp and adding to his Champions League tally after finding the net out in Germany on February 11th, the Nigerian ace has bagged 23 goals across all competitions this season.
Causing Frankfurt’s leaking defence a string of issues here, it is no secret that Osimhen has a string of European heavyweights who are all keen on snatching his signature this season.
However, leading the race to claim Serie A’s Golden Boot in 2023, the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea both know that it could take a bid in the region of £100million.
Frankfurt’s nightmare run continues
Although Eintracht Frankfurt might have shocked many as they punched their Champions League knockout stage ticket last year, the Eagles will know that they face plenty of scrutiny after another downbeat display here.
Despite making the trip to Naples on Wednesday night knowing that they needed a minor miracle following their 2-0 first-leg defeat last month, the Bundesliga outfit failed to make any kind of impact on foreign soil.
Watching their Champions League adventure come to an end with a real whimper, the Eagles could manage just a single shot on target at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona.
Unable to call upon attacking talisman Randal Kolo Muani after the French international was shown a straight red card in the first-leg, Oliver Glasner’s men are in the midst of a worrying recent blip.
Eventually suffering a 5-0 aggregate defeat at the hands of the Italian high-flyers, Frankfurt have now bagged just a single victory from any of their last seven appearances across all competitions – a run that stems back to February 7th.
Although Glasner’s side might have impressed during their group stage flurry last year, the manner of Frankfurt’s European exit will be a bitter pill to swallow.
Napoli: Meret, Di Lorenzo, Rrahmani, Kim, Rui, Anguissa, Lobotka, Zielinski, Politano, Osimhen, Kvaratskheila
Subs: Elmas, Jesus, Lozano, Simeone, Ndombele
Eintracht Frankfurt: Trapp, Buta, Tuta, Ndicka, Lenz, Sow, Rode, Kamada, Gotze, Knauff, Borre
Subs: Max, Alldou, Jakic
Goals: Osimhen (45+2′, 64′), Zielinski (64′ P)
Yellow Cards: Napoli: Jesus – Eintracht Frankfurt: Gotze, Lenz, Ndicka
Red Cards: N/A
Referee: Anthony Taylor
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