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Osimhen scores a hat trick as struggling Serie A champion Napoli routs Sassuolo

Victor Osimhen Napoli Victor Osimhen - The Canadian Press

ROME (AP) — Napoli finally put together an explosive performance reminiscent of its title run last season.

Victor Osimhen scored a hat trick and the struggling Serie A champion routed relegation-threatened Sassuolo 6-1 on Wednesday.

With its first victory under new coach Francesco Calzona, Napoli remained in ninth place but moved level on points with eighth-place Lazio and back into the discussion for the Europe spots.

Calzona, Napoli’s third coach this season, was hired to replace the fired Walter Mazzarri last week and had so far produced draws with Barcelona in the Champions League and Cagliari in Serie A.

Sassuolo is third from the bottom and extended its winless run to seven in its first game under Emiliano Bigica, who replaced the fired Alessio Dionisi on Sunday.

In a matchup of two of this season’s biggest disappointments, Sassuolo went ahead early when Uros Racic scored with a long, low, curving shot.

Napoli defender Amir Rrahmani equalized after getting set up by Giovanni Di Lorenzo and Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa.

Then Osimhen took over with three goals in 16 minutes.

Matteo Politano set up Osimhen’s first two goals, enabling last season’s scoring leader to tap in twice. Then Khvicha Kvaratskhelia intercepted a gifted pass from a Sassuolo defender and shifted the ball over to Osimhen for another easy goal.

Kvaratskhelia got on the score sheet himself when he dribbled in from the left wing and launched an accurate shot through a crowd of defenders. Then the Georgia dribbling wizard scored again by gathering a rebound of his own shot and sending in another long shot.

Osimhen became the third Napoli player to score at least 10 goals in four consecutive seasons after Diego Maradona (1984-85 to 1987-88) and Attila Sallustro (1929-30 to 1932-33).

It was the second hat trick in Italy for Osimhen, who has now scored five goals over three matches in seven days since returning from the African Cup of Nations, where he helped Nigeria reach the final.

Napoli visits Barcelona for the second leg of their Champions League last 16 matchup on March 12.


Inter Milan extended its perfect start to 2024 with a 4-0 win over in-form Atalanta that boosted its lead over Juventus to 12 points.

Matteo Darmian and Lautaro Martinez scored first-half goals as Inter won its 11th straight across all competitions this year and ended Atalanta’s 10-match unbeaten run across all competitions.

Federico Dimarco added another for Inter by redirecting in the rebound of a penalty kick from Lautaro and Davide Frattesi scored with a header following a free kick.

Inter also beat Lecce and Salernitana by the score of 4-0 in its previous two league matches.

Atalanta remained fifth, two points behind Bologna.

Atalanta appeared to have taken the lead early on but a goal from Charles De Ketelaere was waved off following a VAR check for a handball by the attacking team.

Darmian then scored from the edge of the area after Atalanta goalkeeper Marco Carnesecchi came charging out but couldn’t control.

Lautaro scored with his weaker left foot, using a quick control before curling in a long shot.

Both matches were rescheduled from last month when Napoli and Inter were in Saudi Arabia for the Italian Super Cup, which Inter won.


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