Friday, March 31

Insigne equals Maradona as Napoli follows Inter’s trail

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Milan (AFP) – Lorenzo Insigne joined Diego Maradona in 115 goals for Napoli on Sunday with the fourth in a 4-1 drubbing of bottom-of-the-rock Salernitana, which kept his side on the coattails of Inter Milan. .

Insigne, who has played his entire senior career with his local side, struck from the penalty spot in the 53rd minute to level with legend Maradona in the club’s scoring charts.

His goal secured victory over regional rivals Salernitana, moving Napoli into second place and keeping them four points behind league leaders Inter.

AC Milan can regain second place with a win over Juventus at the San Siro in the weekend’s big game, later on Sunday night.

Insigne will move to Toronto FC in July after signing a lucrative four-year deal with the Major League Soccer outfit earlier this month, giving him one final season to emulate Maradona and win a league title with Napoli.

The 30-year-old’s penalty was his fifth goal of the Serie A campaign and the second penalty of the match after Neapolitan adoptee Dries Mertens put Napoli ahead for the second time in the match just before half-time with his 144 .th goal, club record.

All seemed to be going well for Napoli when Juan Jesus’ opening goal in the 17th minute was conceded after a lengthy VAR check, but Federico Bonazzoli’s first goal for the away team in the 33rd minute had the crowd on edge.

Amir Rrahmani scored Napoli’s third when he kneed down a low, perforated cross from Mertens. Frederic Veseli was then judged harshly for having driven, allowing substitute Insigne to match the goalscoring tally of Napoli icon Maradona.

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During his tumultuous spell at Napoli, Maradona led the southern club to its only two league titles and the 1989 UEFA Cup.

In another local derby, Daniele Verde gave Spezia a massive three points with the only goal in his side’s win over relegation-battling Sampdoria.

Verde volleyed in a Kevin Agudelo cross in the 69th minute on the Italian Riviera to give Spezia their third straight win and move up to 14th place, eight points behind 18th-place Cagliari, who missed their chance to climb out of the relegation zone. after drawing 1. -1 with 10 Fiorentina men.

Walter Mazzarri’s side would have overtaken Venezia, ranked 17th and suffering a last-gasp loss to Inter on Saturday, had they held on after Joao Pedro put them ahead just after half-time with his 10th goal in the match. season league.

However, old Cagliari Riccardo Sottil equalized with 15 minutes to go. That means Cagliari remain in the bottom three, one point from safety, while Fiorentina are sixth and seven points out of the Champions League places.

The equalizer will frustrate Cagliari, as Pedro missed a penalty seven minutes before Sottil’s equalizer for Fiorentina, who played the last 25 minutes with a man down after Álvaro Odriozola was sent off following his protests over the Cagliari penalty being awarded. Cagliari.

In the other match of the afternoon, Giacomo Raspadori snatched Sassuolo’s 1-1 draw at Torino with an 88th-minute equalizer with his team’s first shot on goal.

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