Victor Osimhen, on Wednesday night, at the appropriately named Estadio Diego Armando Maradona, set a record that the late Maradona couldn’t achieve in his glory days with Napoli.
Osimhen, who scored a brace in the second leg Round of 16 tie against Eintracht Frankfurt, became the first Napoli player ever to score in both matches of a European Cup/Champions League knockout stage and his three goals over the two legs led his side to a first-ever quarterfinal in the UEFA Champions League.
The Nigerian striker scored one goal in the first leg 2-0 win in Germany before capping it up with another spectacular show in Naples, where Napoli won 3-0 on the night and 5-0 on aggregate to seal their place in the last eight.
Having scored in over seven consecutive games, Osimhen fired blanks in his last two outings against Lazio and Atalanta.
The 24-year-old, however, proved he is not running out of steam in any way when he broke the deadlock in the dying stages of the first half.
That opening goal was a beauty to behold as Osimhen soared into the night sky to steer in the Napoli opener against Eintracht Frankfurt. The manner of the leap and header saw some fans making comparisons with Cristiano Ronaldo on social media.
The Nigeria international took flight when Matteo Politano swept in the cross from the right, hanging in the air for what felt like an eternity to nod into the top corner.
Barely eight minutes into the second half, Osimhen was on hand to double Napoli’s lead. Napoli captain Giovanni Di Lorenzo rolled the ball across from the right for Osimhen to provide a sliding finish.
With that goal, Osimhen became the first Nigerian to score two goals in a Champions League knockout tie.
Even though the 2-0 scoreline was more than enough for Napoli to pull through, they pressed for more goals, which they eventually got.
Piotr Zielinski’s 64th-minute goal from the penalty spot handed another emphatic victory to Napoli.
With Inter Milan and AC Milan also through to the quarterfinal, this is the first time Italy will have three teams at this stage of the Champions League since 2005.
Elsewhere, Real Madrid predictably sealed their berth in the last eight with a lone-goal victory over Liverpool.
Having done the hard work with a 5-2 win over the Reds at Anfield, Los Blancos progressed with a 6-2 aggregate win. Karim Benzema scored the solitary goal in the second leg game.
The full roster of teams in the last eight are Inter Milan, AC Milan, Napoli, Real Madrid, Manchester City, Bayern Munich, Chelsea, and Benfica.
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