Victor Osimhen netted twice as Napoli cruised past Frankfurt 3-0 (5-0 agg) on Wednesday and into their first-ever Champions League quarter-finals.
Needing to claw back a two-goal deficit from the first leg, Frankfurt started the match with purpose and positivity, with Oliver Glasner’s side pressing from the front and relying on the creativity of Daichi Kamada and Mario Gotze. But Napoli were only ever a string of delicate passes away from being in on goal themselves. Khvicha Kvaratskhelia twice warned the away side before Victor Osimhen broke through on the stroke of half-time with a towering header past Kevin Trapp.
At 3-0 on aggregate, the task began to look insurmountable for Frankfurt – and it wasn’t long before Napoli pulled away. The home side added to their advantage when Osimhen turned home from close range following more dangerous play down the right-hand side. Piotr Zielinski then got the goal his performance deserved via the penalty spot. The only negative for Luciano Spalletti’s side was Kvaratskhelia somehow not getting on the scoresheet, as Napoli qualified for their first ever Champions League quarter-final in some style.
Who else but Osimhen? Make that 23 goals in 28 games across all competitions this season and three strikes in this last-16 tie alone. He’s the first player in Napoli’s history to score in both matches of a European knock-out round. The combination play between Giovanni Di Lorenzo and Matteo Politano was dangerous all game, while Piotr Zielinski dazzled in the middle. But the in-form Osimhen did what he has done all season and spearheaded yet another ruthless Napoli attack, before being greeted with a standing ovation when he was substituted late on. He’s not on the verge of being world class. He’s world class right now.
Star striker Randal Kolo-Muani put Frankfurt in trouble in the first leg with his sending off that changed the game, and his side missed his offensive quality in Naples. Glasner gambled by bringing in the inexperienced Ansgar Knauff in the Frenchman’s place and, while the defeat can hardly be attributed solely to the winger, he certainly blunted Frankfurt’s attack. Any real threat came early on through Kamada or Gotze, with the 21-year-old German largely on the periphery before being substituted on 62 minutes.
After yet another electric performance from Spalletti’s side, none of the remaining seven teams will want to face Napoli in the upcoming quarter-final draw. Not long after that draw is made, the Partenopei will travel to Torino on Sunday to try and extend their lead at the Serie A summit even further.