'It was important to him' – Napoli captain Insigne matches Maradona goal haul

By Sports Desk January 23, 2022

Lorenzo Insigne moved alongside Diego Maradona on Napoli's all-time list of leading goalscorers after hitting his 115th goal for the Serie A club.

The Italy international converted a penalty early in the second half of Sunday's 4-1 derby win against Salernitana.

That meant he joined Maradona in a tie for third place in the Napoli record books.

Dries Mertens heads that list and slotted a penalty just before half-time to give Napoli a 2-1 lead, his 144th goal for the club.

Belgium international Mertens stepped aside to allow Insigne to take responsibility for the second spot-kick in the 53rd minute.

Insigne had come on as a substitute for the start of the second half, and Mertens said: "I left the second penalty to Lorenzo because it was important to him."

Writing on Instagram after the match, Insigne expressed his delight at the victory.

He will leave at the end of the season to join Toronto FC, but the 30-year-old insisted he would always hold the club dear.

"The derbies are not played… they are won…. We continue like this until the end," Insigne wrote. "Always and forever FORZA NAPOLI."

Insigne is now six goals behind second-placed Marek Hamsik on the Napoli goalscoring list.

The late Argentina legend Maradona remains the greatest and most revered player in Napoli's history, having joined from Barcelona in 1984 and spent seven years in Naples.

He helped Napoli win league titles in 1986-87 and 1989-90 – the only Serie A championships the club have won – and his death in November sparked an outpouring of grief in the city.

Sunday's goal was Insigne's sixth goal of the season across all competitions, with Napoli's win moving them just four points behind Serie A leaders Inter.

Mertens believes Napoli can still push Inter hard for the title, saying on the club's website: "We must continue like this and look only at us. The championship is still long and we can be protagonists."

Related items

  • Messi absence forces Martino apology for disappointed Vancouver crowd Messi absence forces Martino apology for disappointed Vancouver crowd

    Lionel Messi, Sergio Busquets and Luis Suarez all did not travel for Inter Miami's 2-1 victory over Vancouver Whitecaps, leading head coach Gerardo Martino to apologise.

    The former Barcelona trio were expected to feature for the Eastern Conference leaders on Sunday, but were rested as Martino's side triumphed thanks to goals from Robert Taylor and Leonardo Campana.

    Vancouver's BC Place was expecting a larger than usual home crowd to greet the global superstars, though Whitecaps Axel Schuster apologised once the hosts got wind of Messi's absence.

    With Martino subsequently leaving Messi and his former Blaugrana stars at home, the Miami boss felt it necessary to offer his apologies to the expectant Vancouver crowd.

    "Obviously it is very important for us because of the absences we had," Martino said after the victory that made it 10 unbeaten games for Miami. 

    "The expectation that people have. I really don't think I have to apologise, but in some ways we are very sorry for not being able to travel with our stars.

    "There is a question, we have or have come without our great players. Leo, Luis, Busi, Diego Gomez and still we have competed very well."

    Schuster and the Whitecaps had previously echoed Martino's apologetic sentiment on Thursday when news emerged of their absence.

    "We know that there will also be a lot of disappointed fans," Schuster said in a statement released by Vancouver.

    Disappointment followed on the pitch as Vancouver slipped to six straight MLS matches without victory.

  • Vancouver Whitecaps 1-2 Inter Miami: Taylor stars for Eastern Conference leaders Vancouver Whitecaps 1-2 Inter Miami: Taylor stars for Eastern Conference leaders

    Inter Miami extended their club-record unbeaten streak as Robert Taylor starred in Sunday's 2-1 triumph away to Vancouver Whitecaps in MLS.

    Taylor opened the scoring after 38 minutes before teeing up Leonardo Campana's second-half strike, rendering Ryan Gauld's late penalty as meaningless at BC Place.

    Jordi Alba teed up Taylor's third MLS goal this season, playing down the left before the Miami man cut inside and rifled into the top-right corner.

    Taylor continued to dominate in the second half, driving down the left-hand side before cutting back for Campana to slot a routine, first-time finish into the bottom-right corner after 54 minutes.

    Gauld sliced the deficit with 18 minutes remaining, caressing a cool penalty past Drake Callender, but that mattered for little as Miami continue to lead the Eastern Conference standings.

    Data Debrief: Unbeaten Miami on fire

    Gerardo Martino's side are now unbeaten in their last 10 MLS games, a club-record run, as well as moving to five games undefeated on the road – another first for Miami.

    In stark contrast, Vanni Sartini's Whitecaps are without victory in their last six MLS matches, last suffering as long as a winless streak between October 2022 and March 2023.

  • Sinner and Swiatek favourites for French Open success Sinner and Swiatek favourites for French Open success

    Jannik Sinner and Iga Swiatek are the favourites in their respective draws to triumph at the French Open.

    That is according to Stats Perform's Win Probability Model, which saw Swiatek regain her Roland-Garros crown in 20 per cent of simulations, ahead of nearest challenger Elena Rybakina (nine per cent).

    The Pole is aiming to become the third player in the Open Era to win the women's singles title at Roland-Garros for three consecutive years, after Monica Seles (1990-92) and Justine Henin (2005-07).

    Swiatek claimed a third women’s singles title at Roland-Garros from five appearances in the main draw at the event. In the Open Era, only Margaret Court (three out of four, 75 per cent) holds a better title win rate from main draws entered at the tournament.

    In the men's competition, Sinner is the narrow favourite in Stats Perform's predictions, with his 13 per cent chance just clear of Novak Djokovic's 10.

    Sinner has the highest winning percentage of any player so far in 2024 (93.3 per cent, 28-2), though third-favourite Carlos Alcaraz still has a six per cent likelihood of winning in Paris.

    World number three Alcaraz has yet to reach a French Open final, but is the youngest player in the Open Era to reach the round of 16 at seven consecutive majors.

    Meanwhile, Djokovic is out to overtake Court's record of 24 majors and become the outright leader for grand slam titles across men's and women's singles events.

    Aged 36 years and 20 days, Djokovic became the oldest winner of the men's singles at Roland-Garros in the Open Era when he triumphed last year.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.