Napoli lift third Scudetto in Udine

I Partinopei had the chance to lift their third Scudetto on Thursday, as they travelled to the northern city of Udine. Napoli’s title has been all but confirmed for weeks now, and their win could have been confirmed last weekend – though they were held to a draw by Salernitana. Thursday’s contest against Udinese was expected to be the day when the Italian Crown would finally return to Naples, with the streets ready to party long into the night. Mathematically, a draw would confirm them as champions.

UDI: Silvestri; Becao, Bijol, Nehuen Pérez; Ehizibue, Samardzic, Walace, Lovric, Udogie; Pereyra, Nestorovski

NAP: Meret; Di Lorenzo, Rrahmani, Kim Min-Jae, Olivera; Anguissa, Lobotka, Ndombele; Elmas, Osimhen, Kvaratskhelia

Napoli’s fans led the noise at the Dacia Stadium this evening – with an estimated 10,000 fans making the trip to cheer on their club. The visitors started pretty well, controlling the game from the beginning. Kvaratskhelia and Elmas had the first chances to open the scoring, but Udinese’s defence remained compact and kept the scoreline level.

The script went out of the window in the 13th minute though, as Udinese shockingly scored the first goal. Destiny Udogie sent the ball in from the left, and Sandi Lovric fired home from fifteen yards out – leaving Meret helpless, rooted to the spot.

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Just eight minutes after the goal, Kvaratskhelia fell inside Udinese’s box after a tackle by Becao – but even after a VAR review, the penalty was still not awarded.

Despite Napoli’s strong start, it was Udinese that had dominated the first half – and if Spalletti’s side were to be crowned champions in Udine, they’d need at least a goal in the second half. They’d been completely shut out of the game since Lovric’s opener.

There were no substitutions from either manager at half time, and Udinese remained in charge of the ball as they had been in the first half. That didn’t last for long though, as less than ten minutes into the final 45 minutes, Napoli found an equaliser. Kvaratskhelia’s effort from a corner was parried away as far as Osimhen, who pounced to tuck the ball into the back of the net.

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The tables turned completely after Napoli bagged the equaliser, and the visitors looked to cruise towards their first Scudetto in 33 years. They did so in a rather comfortable fashion, lifting their third Italian title at Udinese’s Dacia Stadium. Diego Armando Maradona has new heirs in Naples, and there will be tears of joy at the base of Mount Vesuvius for weeks to come.

But first, there’s a party to be had on the streets of Naples.