Napoli took another step towards their first Serie A title since 1990 on Friday as stars Khvicha Kvaratskhelia and Victor Osimhen shot the leaders to a 2-0 win at Sassuolo and 18 points clear.
It looks only a matter of time before Luciano Spalletti’s rampant side secure a Scudetto dreamed of by Napoli fans since the days of Diego Maradona.
And on Spalletti’s 1,000th match as a manager his team made no mistake at a Mapei Stadium which with the away section closed saw an invasion of Napoli fans in the home supporters’ stands.
A seventh league win on the bounce leaves their rivals trailing way off in the distance, a whopping 62 points collected in 23 matches underlining their dominance of Italy’s top flight.
The best second-placed Inter Milan can do this weekend is maintain the pre-match gap of 15 points by beating off-form Udinese on Saturday night.
“The only thing we can do is keep doing the things we do well,” said Spalletti to DAZN.
“Sassuolo are a team that know how to play football, you can’t dominate for 90 minutes, but in the second half we did a lot of things really well.”
Napoli’s attentions now turn to their Champions League trip to Eintracht Frankfurt on Tuesday, a run in Europe’s top club competition surely a possibility given the superb form of their attacking jewels Kvaratskhelia and Osimhen.
“Eintracht are a really good team, they have a lot of pace… they attack spaces really quickly and have technically gifted players,” added Spalletti.
“They’ve got more experience than us of playing knockout football, last season they had a run in the Europa League… that’s what we trying to do.”
Kvaratskhelia, Osimhen on target
Kvaratskhelia got the ball rolling in the 11th minute in Reggio Emilia with his 10th goal of an incredible debut Serie A season, a beautiful run and low finish which highlighted why Europe’s biggest clubs are already eyeing the Georgian wing wizard.
Osimhen, who had already hit the post, then doubled the hosts’ lead in the 33rd minute when he collected Amir Rrahmani’s pass, spun Martin Erlic and rifled home from an improbable angle past Andrea Consigli.
The pair have now scored 28 of Napoli’s 56 league goals, Osimhen netting nine times in eight league matches since the turn of the year.
Sassuolo couldn’t repeat their heroics of recent weeks against ailing champions AC Milan and Atalanta but put up a decent fight on Friday night despite having to play without injured star Domenico Berardi.
Alessio Dionisi’s side, who are seven points above the relegation zone in 15th, caused Napoli problems and struck the post through Armand Lauriente just after Kvaratskhelia’s opener.
The match might have taken on a different look had Lauriente’s close-range finish not been ruled out for Gregoire Defrel interfering with play from an offside position.
Napoli fans were worried about Osimhen’s condition when he was subbed with six minutes to go, but Spalletti said after the match that there “no particular issue” with the Nigeria forward.
That left the only low note on an otherwise perfect night being super-sub Giovanni Simeone having a late goal chalked off for Hirving Lozano being offside before swinging in his perfect cross for the Argentine forward.