Published By: Ritayan Basu
Last Updated: August 20, 2023, 08:10 IST
Victor Osimhen and Lautaro Martinez both struck opening day doubles on Saturday as Napoli got their Serie A title defence off to a winning start at Frosinone and Inter Milan beat Monza 2-0.
Nigeria striker Osimhen netted in each half to help ensure the champions came from behind to win 3-1 on Rudi Garcia’s debut as coach following the resignation of new Italy boss Luciano Spalletti.
Matteo Politano scored Napoli’s other goal, getting the away side back on level terms midway through the first half after Abdou Harroui had given hosts Frosinone a shock early lead from the penalty spot.
Osimhen scored 31 times last season, including the goal which sealed the league title, and he is in talks for a contract extension despite big-money interest from clubs abroad.
“The president is the boss. We are still negotiating, maybe at the end of the transfer window we will see what will happen,” added Osimhen, whose current deal expires in June 2025, to DAZN.
“But for now I’m a Napoli player which is the most important thing and I will give my heart and soul for the team.”
Garcia has a tough job on his hands defending Napoli’s first championship crown since 1990 and didn’t have things all his own way at the Stadio Benito Stirpe.
His team, missing injured star winger Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, were trailing in the seventh minute when Harroui slotted home a penalty following a clumsy foul from Jens Cajuste.
But they were level when Politano pounced following chaos in the Frosinone box and lashed in a powerful left-footed shot which should have been stopped by home goalkeeper Stefano Turati.
And there was no stopping Osimhen from crashing in his first of the season in the 42nd minute when Giovanni Di Lorenzo won the ball high up the pitch and fed last season’s Serie A top scorer, who thumped home a rocket of a first-time finish.
The 24-year-old then sealed the points with 11 minutes remaining after being sent clean through by Di Lorenzo and coolly stroking past Turati.
Martinez on target
Inter looked like they were on their way to a convincing win when captain Martinez put the hosts ahead with just seven minutes gone at a packed San Siro.
The Argentina forward finished five goals behind Osimhen in the Serie A scoring charts last season and swept home the opener from Denzel Dumfries’ low cross.
And although Monza put up a fight Martinez gave Inter a deserved three points in the 76th minute with another simple finish, this time from Marko Arnautovic’s cross.
It was a positive first outing for Simone Inzaghi’s team, who reached the Champions League final last season but have had something of a summer overhaul.
Both new forwards Marcus Thuram and Arnautovic performed well enough to suggest they could be the right replacements for the departed Edin Dzeko and Romelu Lukaku while Yann Sommer was an unfussy presence in goal.
“Today we needed to make a statement and we did that, we got off on the right foot,” said Martinez
“We’re a good team and we’ve brought in good players… we were all ready today, including the new boys.”
Fiorentina thrash Genoa
Fiorentina strolled to a 4-1 victory at Genoa who judging by Saturday’s dismal display will struggle even with Italy striker Mateo Retegui.
Argentina-born Retegui barely had a kick as last season’s losing Conference League finalists ran riot at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris, Cristiano Biraghi and Giacomo Bonaventura putting Fiorentina two ahead in the first 11 minutes.
Genoa, back in Serie A after a year away, were reeling when Nicolas Gonzalez then angled home a perfect header from Biraghi’s corner five minutes before the break.
And Rolando Mandragora piled on the misery in the 57th minute when he headed in Bonaventura’s perfectly flighted through ball.
Davide Biraschi salvaged some pride two minutes later in front of a large home crowd who were given a wake-up call after a summer full of optimism.
(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed – AFP)
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