FRANKFURT (Reuters): Goals from Victor Osimhen and Giovanni Di Lorenzo gave dominant Napoli a comfortable 2-0 victory at 10-man Eintracht Frankfurt in their Champions League last-16 first leg on Tuesday.
Napoli, bidding to reach their first quarter-final in the competition, went ahead when in-form Nigeria striker Osimhen, who has now scored 10 goals in his last nine games across all competitions, tapped in at the far post after 40 minutes.Frankfurt were reduced to 10 men just before the hour and Napoli captain Di Lorenzo soon doubled the visitors’ advantagein the 65th from a superb backheel assist by the tricky Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, who made amends for his first half penalty miss.
“I am happy with the performance,” Napoli coach Luciano Spalletti said. “From the start the team played with character, took control of the game and did what we wanted to do.
“We probably had the chance to score an extra goal that could have been useful for us. I still think it is 50-50 for qualification, because there is still a game to be played.
“We need the utmost humility because when you face a team convinced you have an advantage you can then end up dealing with unexpected situations. Arrogance is the biggest enemy.”
Error-prone Frankfurt had Randal Kolo Muani red-carded for a foul in the 58th minute and were no match for the Italians who were sharper from the start and hit the post in the 34th through Hirving Lozano.
They earned a penalty immediately after as Frankfurt’s Aurelio Buta kicked Osimhen in his effort to clear the ball.
Georgia forward Kvaratskhelia, who with Osimhen has a combined total of 32 goals in all competitions this season for the Serie A leaders, failed to beat Kevin Trapp from the spot.
Osimhen did it much better only five minutes later after Mexican Lozano, who wreaked havoc down the right with his darting runs, whipped in another low cross to the far post for the Nigerian to bundle home.
Osimhen put the ball in the net again in an almost identical move a minute later but his effort was ruled out for offside.
Close-season signing Kvaratskhelia had a golden chance to double the lead in the 57th but again did not manage to beat Trapp in a one-on-one after another Lozano through ball.
The turning point for Frankfurt came a minute later when their top scorer Kolo Muani got his marching orders for a clumsy challenge on Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa.
Napoli’s pressure grew and they were rewarded when Kvaratskhelia picked up the ball in the box and backheeled it for Di Lorenzo to curl a shot into the far bottom corner.
“We still have a second leg to play,” said Frankfurt midfielder Mario Goetze. “They scored two goals here, why should we not do that as well? We know everything is still possible.”