Nigeria’s Victor Osimhen will miss Napoli’s next two Seria A games against Genoa and Juventus after his opening-day red card against Venezia.
Football Italia reports that the offence against Daan Heymans was “voluntarily striking an opposition player with a slap to the face while the ball was at a distance.”
Referee Gianluca Aureliano sent off Osimhen 23 minutes into the game for lifting his hand to the face of the Venezia defender in the lead up to a Napoli corner kick. Napoli won 2-0 to open the 2021/22 league campaign with goals from captain Lorenzo Insigne and substitute Eljif Elmas, in the second half.
At the post-match press conference, new Napoli manager, Luciano Spalletti, warned his youthful striker to be wary of the antics of Serie A defenders, who will do all within the law to stop the Nigerian from wreaking havoc.
“Osimhen’s expulsion? He has to be careful of his emotional reactions. He is a strong attacker and all the defenders will try to help themselves by limiting his physical exuberance,” Spalletti explained to a Naples website.
“He will always have his hands on the defenders. He must be careful. The referee was very correct when he explained to me what he saw.”
Alessandro Barbano in Corriere Dello Sport reviewed Osimhen’s ban and interpreted it as non-violent, which could be the reason Napoli are contesting the two-match ban.
READ ALSO: We have missed Osimhen — Napoli Coach
“However, the regulation specifies that the sanction does not apply if ‘the force used is irrelevant’.
“It is enough to observe the movement of the Nigerian’s arm, which is carried forward as if to free itself from a pressure, to understand that it is neither a fist nor a slap.”
Apart from the two-game ban, Osimhen is also to pay a €5,000 fine.
Osimhen was on fire during pre-season, scoring goals aplenty. He scored twice against Bayern Munich in the Audi Cup and the club expected more goals this season after he struck 10 goals last season despite being disrupted by injuries while on national duty and COVID-19.
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