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Napoli denied Serie A lead

MILAN (AFP) – Napoli missed out on the chance to move top of Serie A early yesterday after Victor Osimhen snatched a barely deserved 1-1 draw at rejuvenated Cagliari.

Nigeria forward Osimhen saved a point for Napoli when he crashed in a powerful header with three minutes remaining but it was not enough for the away side to take first place from AC Milan.

Luciano Spalletti’s outfit would have taken top spot ahead of Milan on goal difference had they won in Sardinia but instead are two points back in third.

They were outplayed by a Cagliari team who took the lead through Gaston Pereiro in the 58th minute and were disappointed with the draw after having more than enough chances to seal the win before Osimhen struck.

“It was a difficult match for us. Maybe we didn’t deserve what we got here, or rather Cagliari deserved more,” Spalletti told DAZN.

Napoli’s Victor Osimhen heads to score during the Serie A match against Cagliari at Unipol Domus stadium. PHOTO: AP

“We never had the game under control, so it’s probably a good result for us. We didn’t do enough.” Cagliari would have moved out of the relegation zone with a win but stay 18th, level on 22 points with Venezia who are one place outside the bottom three due to Osimhen’s late leveller.

Walter Mazzarri’s side looked doomed to Serie B after losing at Juventus just before the winter break but have won three of their seven league matches since the turn of the year – losing just once.

“We played really well, it’s a shame that we didn’t get the win but we need to continue playing like this, with the same spirit,” Pereiro told DAZN.

“Then the three points which we deserved today will come the next time.”

It was another reprieve for Milan following their 2-2 draw at bottom side Salernitana on Saturday, as second-placed Inter, who are level on 54 points with Napoli, were beaten 2-0 by Sassuolo on Sunday.

Napoli were missing a host of players to injury including captain Lorenzo Insigne and key midfielders Stanislav Lobotka and Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa, and the performance at a windy Unipol Domus stadium will have caused concern ahead of tomorrow’s Europa League showdown with Barcelona.


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