In crunch time in the Scudetto race, Victor Osimhen has stepped up for Napoli with two consecutive braces to keep his team in the race for the 2021/22 Serie A title.
A powerful header and a deft finish off the right foot Brough Napoli back from a goal down to visitors, Udinese at the Armando Diego Maradona Stadium on Saturday.
The three points took Napoli level on points with AC Milan, who tackle Cagliari later on Saturday just as third-placed Inter Milan welcome Fiorentina to the San Siro, also on Saturday.
Udinese took the lead through Gerard Deulofeu in the 22nd minute as his low drive from the edge of the box beat David Ospina at his right post.
The visitors were better in the opening exchanges and created two excellent goal-scoring chances for Beto.
Osimhen equalised for Napoli in the 52nd minute when he planted his downward header from a free-kick by Mario Rui past Unidese goalkeeper, Marco Silvestri.
He completed his brace in the 63rd minute from a move he started in the Udinese half. Osimhen passed to Matteo Politano, who fed Giovanni Di Lorenzo, who then provided a low cross into Osimhen’s path, which he connected properly with to give Napoli the lead.
Seven minutes later, the Nigerian thought he had his first hattrick in Napoli colours as he controlled a blocked effort and prodded home with his left foot.
But VAR showed he had been marginally offside before Politano took the shot that was blocked.
Osimhen has now scored 11 goals in 20 appearances and is in good form for the Super Eagles after missing the Nations Cup with a facial injury, as they prepare to face Ghana’s Black Stars for a ticket to the 2022 FIFA World Cup, scheduled for Qatar in November.