Super Eagles striker, Victor Osimhen will be hoping to dent Juventus and Cristiano Ronaldo’s title quest as Napoli host the Old Lady in today’s Serie A clash at the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium.
The Nigerian international who recently helped the Super Eagles qualify for the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations after scoring in Nigeria’s 3-0 win over Lesotho at the Teslim Balogun Stadium in a dead-rubber AFCON qualifier, Lagos, will be aiming to maintain his goalscoring form against Juventus.
Osimhen has only scored four goals in 14 league games since his multimillion euros transfer to Naples last summer, but two of those have come in his last four matches for Gennaro Gattuso’s side.
Juventus versus Napoli is one of the most heated fixtures in Serie A due to the historical regional rivalry between Northern Italy (Turin) and Southern Italy (Naples).
The hosts have been the better side in the history of this fixture, picking up 20 wins in their last 40 meetings. Napoli, meanwhile, have secured 12 wins, while it has ended all square on nine occasions.
With the spoils shared from their two previous meetings this season – following Juve’s Supercoppa Italiana triumph, the Partenopei picked up a 1-0 home win in February – the sides are locked together on points and are fighting it out for a Champions League place.
Despite the waves of criticism in the aftermath of a shock exit from the UEFA Champions League at the hands of FC Porto, Cristiano Ronaldo has been pretty much the one-man army as far as the Juventus attack is concerned. He is already the league’s top goalscorer with 24 scalps and has proven himself in front of goal since the UEFA Champions League exit.
As the Bianconeri continue to struggle in finding the rhythm and cohesion going forward, the onus will once again be on Ronaldo to spill his magic on the proceedings. His aerial presence inside the box coupled with the ability to score from range makes him quite a danger man for a Napoli defence that has otherwise looked solid in recent weeks.
Napoli have come into this crunch contest in sky-high form and will take on a Juventus side who are boosted by the return of a few key players.
With the sides level on points in the table, this promises to be a nail-biting encounter.
By Augustine Akhilomen