MILAN, Italy: Victor Osimhen made sure that Napoli kept hold of their Serie A lead on Sunday with the winning goal in a hard-fought 3-2 victory over Bologna which took their all-competitions winning streak to 10 matches.
Nigeria striker Osimhen struck in the 69th minute to secure the win for unbeaten Napoli, who maintained their two-point lead on Atalanta at the top of the pile.
It was his first league goal since August after helping his team to secure qualification to the Champions League last 16 with a midweek strike in Naples against Ajax.
“It’s always important for me to get a goal in this stadium because the atmosphere is really amazing,” said Osimhen to DAZN.
“I’m happy to be able to help the team with this goal and the victory, and I believe we will continue to push with this momentum.”
However Sunday’s win was far from the swashbuckling display expected against Bologna, who will drop into the bottom three if Verona beat AC Milan in the day’s final game.
Thiago Motta’s side sit 17th but come away from the Stadio Maradona with credit after a fine performance without star man Marko Arnautovic.
The hosts looked to be heading for a routine win once Hirving Lozano put them back ahead three minutes after halftime following a goalmouth scramble.
They had gone into the break level thanks to Juan Jesus bundling in his first goal of the season in final minute of the half, just four minutes after Joshua Zirkzee had give Bologna a shock lead.
However, Alex Meret allowed Musa Barrow to level for Bologna just two minutes after Lozano’s arrowed strike with a howler, letting the Gambian’s long-range shot squeeze under his body.
The home crowd squirmed but Osimhen, who replaced Giacomo Raspadori at halftime, forced his third league goal of the campaign under Lukasz Skorupski from the superb Khvicha Kvaratskhelia’s pass to send the fans home drained but happy.
On a high from Wednesday night’s thrilling 3-3 draw at Barcelona, Inter Milan saw off Salernitana 2-0 at the San Siro thanks to goals either side of half-time from Lautaro Martinez and Nicolo Barella.
Simone Inzaghi’s side are up to seventh after their second straight league win and trail Napoli by eight points.
“We’re on the right track, we started the season badly and lost important points, but we’ve turned the page now,” Martinez told Sky Sport Italia.
Three wins from their last four matches, including four points taken from Barca, have got their domestic season back on track and put them one win away from the last 16 of the Champions League.
Martinez had been in a worrying drought until he crashed in his superb strike at the Camp Nou, and he followed up on that strong performance by lashing home his first league goal since August in the 15th minute.
And Barella made sure Inter would collect the points six minutes later, drilling home his third goal of the campaign after collecting Hakan Calhanoglu’s perfect left-footed pass over the top.
Maurizio Sarri said Lazio should “look for another coach” after being outraged by the state of the Stadio Olimpico pitch during his team’s goalless draw with fellow in-form side Udinese.
Sarri said that the pitch, which has also been criticized Jose Mourinho whose team Roma play at the same stadium, was “impossible to play on” despite both teams putting on an engaging spectacle for the 45,000 present in Rome.
“I don’t know what the chairman is planning on doing, but if this is the pitch we have to play on he should get another coach,” Sarri told reporters, adding that playing out from the back “was like throwing a bomb under our feet.”
Sarri also lost Ciro Immobile to a thigh injury on the half-hour mark and third-placed Lazio struggled to create chances without the Italy striker.
Both teams are five points behind Napoli and can be overtaken by champions Milan and Roma, who are at bottom team Sampdoria on Monday.