Champions Napoli survived an early scare as they began their title defence with a 3-1 win at newly-promoted Frosinone in their Serie A season opener on Saturday after Victor Osimhen scored twice.
Napoli now have Rudi Garcia in the dugout after Luciano Spalletti took the Italy national team job and the Naples side had a horror start when they conceded a penalty inside five minutes.
Jens Cajuste tripped Jaime Baez when attempting to clear the ball and Abdou Harroui stepped up to convert the spot kick.
The goal gave Frosinone – who won the second-division Serie B title last season – a 1-0 lead against the champions.
Napoli were shell-shocked but they quickly recovered and equalised in the 24th minute when Matteo Politano pulled the trigger from the edge of the box to beat the keeper.
Giacomo Raspadori thought he had made it 2-1 for Napoli after an acrobatic assist from Osimhen, who threw himself into the air near the post to set up the shot with his foot.
But the goal was chalked off for offside in the build-up.
However, Osimhen ensured they went in ahead at the break when last season’s top scorer received the ball after a run from Giovanni Di Lorenzo.
He then unleashed a piledriver from an angle that grazed the underside of the crossbar on its way in.
Baez nearly equalised for Frosinone after the restart when he sent a free kick sailing towards goal, but the Uruguayan’s shot cannoned off the post to give Napoli a reprieve.
But Osimhen made it 3-1 to Napoli when he broke the offside trap in the 79th minute.
With just the goalkeeper to beat, the Nigerian striker fired a low shot to find the back of the net as Garcia’s side sealed all three points.
EPL: Guardiola reveals Tottenham manager that made title hard to win
Manchester City boss, Pep Guardiola has claimed it is now harder to win the Premier League.
Guardiola was speaking to the media on Friday, ahead of the visit of Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.
According to him, Spurs have “always been up there” since Mauricio Pochettino became their manager.
“It [the Premier League] is a more difficult competition to win and I have said many times that every season it is getting better. So more teams involved and every single game is so difficult.
“Ever since Mauricio Pochettino has arrived, I would say Spurs have always been up there, so yes, they are a fantastic team.
“Of course, they have a lot of absences now, but I saw the first 15-20 minutes against Aston Villa and they created a lot of chances, especially in their approach.
“So it is definitely really good for football,” Guardiola said.
Rivers United’s Odeh makes CAF Confederation Cup Goal of the Week
Rivers United’s Paul Odeh’s goal against Academica Petroleos club do Lobito has been selected among the best of matchday one fixtures in the CAF Confederation Cup.
Odeh scored a fantastic long-range strike in Rivers United’s 3-0 victory at the Godswill Akpabio International, Uyo.
Other goals selected are USM Algiers’ Islam Merili screamer against Al-Hilal SC, Mordern Future’s Ghanam Mohammed’s goal versus Supersports, Sagrada Esperanca’s Simone Lepau’s close-range strike against CO Coyah SC and Zamalek’ Yusuf Obama’s header against Abu Salam completes the list.
The former Nigeria Premier Football League champions will battle Dream SC of Ghana in their matchday two fixture on Sunday.
The match is billed for the Baba Yara Sports Stadium, Kumasi.
He reminds me of Berbatov – Michael Owen lavishes praise on Arsenal star
Former Real Madrid and Manchester United striker, Michael Owen has heaped praises on Arsenal’s Kai Havertz, comparing him to former Tottenham Hotspur attacker Dimitar Berbatov.
Owen likened Havertz’s touch and ability on the ball to that of Berbatov, who also played for Manchester United during his football career.
This is coming after Arsenal’s recent 6-0 thrashing of RC Lens in the Champions League on Wednesday.
“It is a bit of a conundrum with him, I don’t think he scores enough goals to be a centre-forward, has he got the pace to be a wide man? Maybe ghosts in and plays inside a little bit, there is no doubt about his talent,” Owen said on TNT Sports about Havertz.
“He’s got a lovely touch, a lovely way about him. He reminds me a bit of Berbatov, the way he takes the ball and his lovely touch. There is definitely a brilliant player there.”
Havertz joined Arsenal from Chelsea in the summer transfer window for a reported fee of £65 million.
The German endured a difficult start to life at the Gunners, scoring just one goal in his first 19 appearances for the club.
However, Havertz has seen an upturn in form recently, scoring the match-winner in Arsenal’s 1-0 win over Brentford last weekend.
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