Osimhen scores late, Napoli beat Roma for 11th straight win

Torino's Pietro Pellegri celebrates his goal during the Serie A soccer match between Udinese and Torino at the Friuli Stadium, Udine, Italy on Sunday October 23, 2022. (Andrea Bressanutti/LaPresse via AP)

Torino’s Pietro Pellegri celebrates his goal during the Serie A soccer match between Udinese and Torino at the Friuli Stadium, Udine, Italy on Sunday October 23, 2022. (Andrea Bressanutti/LaPresse via AP)

PA

Jose Mourinho’s physical Roma side have come close to most teams to keep Napoli out of the net.

In the end, however, Napoli’s vast array of talented forwards once again proved too much to handle.

Victor Osimhen scored with 10 minutes remaining and Serie A leaders Napoli won 1-0 at the Stadio Olimpico on Sunday to equal a club record with their 11th straight win in all competitions.

And what a goal it was.

Osimhen collected a ball over the top, smashed his way past imposing Roma centre-back Chris Smalling and fired a low shot into the other side of the net from an almost impossible angle on the right flank.

“Roma gave us a hard time but we showed that Napoli are hard to beat,” said Osimhen.

Napoli again took a three-point lead over defending champions AC Milan, who beat Silvio Berlusconi’s Monza on Saturday. Roma remained fifth.

Roma did not produce any shots on goal.

“I feel a sense of injustice and I embrace my players because they did everything possible and I think they did enough to avoid defeat,” Mourinho said. “We knew whoever scored a goal would win, and that was Napoli.”

The only other time Napoli have won 11 games in a row came in 1986 when Diego Maradona played for the club. Maradona, who died in 2020, then led Napoli to their only two Serie A titles in 1987 and 1990.

Napoli have won seven in a row in Serie A with four Champions League wins – qualifying for the knockout stage with two games to spare with lopsided wins over Liverpool, Rangers and Ajax.

Napoli embarrassed Liverpool 4-1 and scored 10 in two appearances for Ajax.

It was a sweet victory for Napoli coach Luciano Spalletti, who has coached Roma twice. He infamously became the target of fan anger for his treatment of Francesco Totti as the club icon retired on his second spell in the capital.

Spalletti has made all the right choices with Napoli this season. Giacomo Raspadori and Giovanni Simeone were good substitutes for Osimhen when the Nigerian striker was recently injured, and both scored from the bench as well. But Spalletti kept Osimhen until the end and was rewarded with his choice.

Napoli also had a potential first-half goal from Tanguy Ndombele ruled out by VAR. The referee initially appeared to whistle a foul on Roma goalkeeper Rui Patrício, but replays showed the keeper had gotten his hands on the ball before making contact with Ndombele.

Mourinho demanded a yellow card for Ndombele, accusing the French midfielder of diving.

Mourinho maintained his commentary on the touchline and received a yellow card for dissent early in the second half as Napoli began to advance more often.

ATALANTA AND UDINESE BEATEN

Atalanta and Udinese, two provincial clubs that impressed at the start of the season, both lost at home.

Atalanta’s unbeaten start ended in a 2-0 loss to surging Lazio while Udinese were beaten 2-1 by Torino for their first league defeat since matchday one.

Mattia Zaccagni and Felipe Anderson scored for Lazio at the start of each half respectively, as the Roma club failed to miss injured centre-forward Ciro Immobile.

It was Lazio’s sixth consecutive clean sheet and the victory propelled Lazio past third-placed Atalanta, albeit level on points with the Bergamo club.

Atalanta striker Luis Muriel received his second yellow card in the 90th minute.

Goals from Ola Aina and Pietro Pellegri helped Torino secure their first league win in over a month.

It was Udinese’s first league defeat since a 4-2 loss to defending champions AC Milan on 13 August. He has won six matches in a row but has drawn his last two in Serie A – against Atalanta and Lazio.

Udinese, also eliminated from the Italian Cup by Monza in midweek, remained sixth.

Torino moved up to ninth place.

Moreover, Thiago Motta picked up his first Serie A win as Bologna manager as his side beat compatriot Lecce 2-0.

Bologna had lost three of Motta’s four league games in charge, drawing the other.

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Associated Press writer Daniella Matar in Milan contributed.

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This story was originally published October 23, 2022 8:46 a.m.

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