Napoli 2-0 Sampdoria: Osimhen reaches half-century as Spalletti signs off with victory

By Sports Desk June 04, 2023

Victor Osimhen reached another milestone as Napoli concluded their Scudetto-winning campaign with a 2-0 victory over Serie A's bottom side Sampdoria.

Osimhen sealed the Capocannoniere with his second-half penalty taking his tally for the Serie A campaign to 26 goals, while it was also his 50th overall in the competition.

Substitute Giovanni Simeone's wonderful individual effort secured victory as the Partonopei lifted the Serie A trophy at Stadio Diego Armando Maradona, where Luciano Spalletti was overseeing his final match in charge before taking a year-long sabbatical.

The Partenopei finished their memorable season on 90 points, their second-highest tally in Serie A – having collected one more under Maurizio Sarri five years ago.

Napoli created the first opportunity inside three minutes when Khvicha Kvaratskhelia fed Piotr Zielinski, who fired over from a tight angle.

At the other end, two former Partenopei players almost combined to thwart their old club, but Fabio Quagliarella squandered a great opportunity by heading Manolo Gabbiadini's inviting cross wide from inside the six yard box.

Koray Gunter produced a wonderful last-ditch intervention to deny Eljif Elmas a clear sight on goal after Osimhen had neatly cushioned a lofted ball into his team-mate's path.

Sampdoria went close after the break when substitute Lorenzo Malagrida shot straight at Alex Meret, but the hosts broke through in the 64th minute.

After Nicola Murru brought him down in the penalty area, Osimhen picked himself up and confidently swept the spot-kick into the bottom-right corner.

Martin Turk denied Frank Anguissa and Gianluca Gaetano with smart reflex saves, but was helpless when Simeone arrowed a stunning 25-yard effort into the top corner to seal the points five minutes from time.

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    Luciano Spalletti is aiming to get Italy back to their best against Croatia on Monday after admitting to not getting things right during their defeat to Spain.

    Spain secured top spot in Group B after their 1-0 victory over Italy on Thursday, with Riccardo Calafiori's own goal handing La Roja the win in the 55th minute.

    Despite the narrow scoreline, Italy struggled to test their counterparts in the final third, managing just four shots in the match, with Unai Simon only having to make one save.

    Spalletti had named the same starting line-up from their comeback win over Albania but used all five of his changes by the 64th minute.

    The head coach admitted even that was not soon enough for his team, but is confident Italy will bounce back on Monday.

    "Of course, after a game like that, there is the notion and the idea to change the team a little bit," Spalletti said.

    "I probably made mistakes in not mixing things up quicker in terms of the performance we produced, but I thought it would be a gamble to tweak anything because we saw everything that had been said in recent times.

    "Now that we have noticed that there is a bit of fatigue and rust in terms of results, we certainly will change things."

    Italy know that a win will confirm second place in the group, while a defeat will either knock them out immediately if Albania beat Spain or leave them waiting to see if they can go through as one of the best third-place teams.

    "There are certain matches which ultimately dictate whether it's been a great tale or a tale to forget, so the glory of your tale comes down to matches such as this," Spaelletti added.

    "Talk is cheap, you've got to go out there and walk the walk. We said things we weren't able to exhibit against Spain, we need to walk the walk and leave talk to one side."

  • France v Poland: Deschamps remains calm despite Les Bleus' struggle for goals France v Poland: Deschamps remains calm despite Les Bleus' struggle for goals

    France manager Didier Deschamps says he is "not concerned" with his side's recent struggles in front of goal ahead of their final Euro 2024 group game against Poland on Tuesday.

    Les Bleus are all but through to the knockout stages of the European Championships, sitting joint-top of Group D with four points, but need to avoid defeat to ensure progression.

    Yet France's only goal at the tournament so far has come courtesy of Maximilian Wober turning into his own net in the opening 1-0 victory over Austria, before a goalless draw with the Netherlands on Friday.

    France failed to score with any of their 15 shots in a wasteful display against the Oranje as Deschamps went without Kylian Mbappe, who was only fit enough for the bench due to his broken nose.

    Asked about Les Bleus' profligate showings, Deschamps responded: "I am not concerned. It is just the name of the game.

    "Sometimes you have countless chances and don't hit the back of the net, and sometimes it is the other way round.

    "I would be worried if there were not any chances. Efficiency at high-level football is important, and it is something we can work on.

    On Mbappe's fitness, Deschamps added: "Everything is going in the right direction; he is recovering from the shock, there is the haematoma part which will diminish each day, he will get used to his mask, which modifies the vision a little. But he is fine."

    Poland became the first side to be eliminated from the tournament following France's draw, after they lost their opening matches to the Netherlands (2-1) and Austria (3-1).

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    "We are depressed by this result, but we still have one more game in our group, and we need to put our best foot forward and try to win three points," Lewandowski said.

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    France – N'Golo Kante

    N'Golo Kante was a surprise inclusion in Deschamps' squad for the tournament after a two-year absence from the national side, but his performances so far have earned him the Player of the Match award in their opening two games.

    The midfielder has made more major tournament appearances without losing than any other European player, with France unbeaten in all 17 games he has played across the Euros and World Cup (W12 D5).

    Poland – Piotr Zielinski

    Poland may be out of the tournament but will be desperate to go down fighting, with Piotr Zielinski again expected to be key here.

    Zielinski has been directly involved in more shots than any other Poland player at Euro 2024 (11 – seven shots, four chances created), as well as completing the most passes for his side (68) across the first two rounds.

    MATCH PREDICTION: FRANCE WIN

    This will only be the third meeting between France and Poland in a major tournament, and the first at the Euros. Poland won a third-place play-off match 3-2 at the 1982 World Cup, while France triumphed 3-1 in the round of 16 at the 2022 World Cup.

    Including all competitions, France are unbeaten in their last eight meetings with Poland (W4 D4), since losing a friendly match 4-0 in August 1982.

    Les Bleus simply need to avoid defeat to qualify for the knockout stages, and they are unbeaten in their eight games in the group stage at the Euros under Deschamps (W4 D4), with their last such defeat coming on MD 3 versus Sweden at Euro 2012 (2-0), under Laurent Blanc.

    Meanwhile, Poland have lost both of their games at Euro 2024 so far but have never previously suffered three defeats in a single group stage at a major tournament.

    Poland have lost their final group stage match in three of their four previous appearances at the European Championships, with the exception being a 1-0 win against Ukraine in 2016 – the only time they have reached the knockout rounds of the competition.

    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    France – 73.9%

    Draw – 14.8%

    Poland – 11.2%

  • Sabitzer focused on last-16 qualification after Champions League heartache Sabitzer focused on last-16 qualification after Champions League heartache

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    The Borussia Dortmund midfielder played the full duration of their 2-0 defeat to Real Madrid at Wembley earlier this month. 

    Los Blancos secured their 15th success in the competition thanks to goals late in the game from Dani Carvajal and Vinicius Junior. 

    But Sabitzer played a starring role as Austria roared back from their defeat to France in their opening game of the competition, beating Poland 3-1 to bring it down to the final matchday. 

    Austria face the Netherlands in Berlin next Tuesday to conclude their Group D campaign, and know a win could see them finish top or second. 

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    "The possibilities then really open up," Sabitzer said.

    "I know that from the Champions League, especially this season. Once you're on a run in the knockout phase anything can happen.

    "The most important thing is to get through the group stage and into the round of 16 and then we'll see what happens next."

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