Victor Osimhen returned to action for Napoli on Thursday as the Italian team qualified for the semi-final of the Coppa Italia with a 4-2 win over Spezia.
Osimhen, the biggest transfer in the last summer window had been out for 77 days on account of a shoulder injury (copped on duty with the Nigeria national team) and a positive COVID-19 test result, after a visit to Nigeria in December.
Osimhen returned to training last week, came on in the 69th minute for Piotr Zielinski for his first minutes in 2021, and he helped his side progress through to the semi-final where they will play over two legs against Atalanta. The 22-year-old, before Thursday, appeared lastly for Napoli against Bologna in a Serie A match on November 8, 2020.
Speaking afterwards, Napoli manager, Gennaro Gattuso said, “I brought [Victor] Osimhen and [Dries] Mertens on in the second half to get minutes in their legs. They’re key players for us, and we haven’t been able to use them much because of injury.
“I’m not looking for excuses but any team would find it hard if they lost two forwards of that calibre–even the sides at the top of the league,” Gattuso added. The tactician is under the spotlight and there are rumours Massimiliano Allegri could replace him, though the former Juventus manager is said to have agreed to take over at Roma by the end of this season.
Napoli’s next match is against Parma on Sunday at their Estadio Diego Armando Maradona. After that, they will host Atalanta on February 3 in the first leg of the 2021 Coppa Italia semi-final, a match Osimhen should be able to start.
Osimhen has appeared in 10 matches, in all competitions for Napoli this season and has registered two league goals. In his absence, Gattuso deployed Andrea Petagna, who has scored four times in the league, and Dries Mertens, who also has four league goals.
The highest goal scorers in the team are Lorenzo Insigne with nine league goals and Hirving Lozano, who has scored 12 goals in all competitions.
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