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Napoli Return to Top of Serie A in Blockbuster Fashion

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By Martin Graham | 28th Feb 2022

Napoli are now back at the top of the Serie A table after several weeks fighting for a top-four spot.

The Partenopei started the season in blistering form, winning 10 games on the bounce and maintaining a healthy goal difference. It began to go downhill and soon the club found themselves fighting to stay in the top four.

However, they regained their composure and despite shaky performances, have continued to push for their objectives this season. A little bit of luck here and there due to former league leaders Inter Milan and AC Milan failing to keep up the momentum has now handed the Partenopei a golden opportunity to regain the top spot of the Serie A.

That they did with a beautiful win over Lazio at the Stadio Olimpico on Sunday night.

It took Luciano Spaletti’s side 62 minutes to break the deadlock. Outgoing captain Lorenzo Insigne curled in an amazing first-time shot from the edge of the box into the bottom corner.

The game remained like this until the 88th minute, when former Barcelona and Chelsea winger Pedro Rodriguez latched onto a rebounded shot at the edge of the penalty area and hammered a half-volley past Napoli’s goalkeeper to restore parity.

Napoli looks to be on the verge of dropping points again following their shaky phone in the past few weeks. However, midfielder Fabian Ruiz came up clutch in the 94th minute to salvage three points for Spaletti, slotting home a beautiful effort from just outside the box.

That win saw Napoli rise to the top of the Serie A standings following AC Milan and Inter Milan’s capitulations at the weekend.

Luciano Spalletti demands respect for Napoli after breathtaking win

Despite being the most in-form team in the Serie A in the past six games – they have won 14 points of the 18 on offer – Napoli have largely cruised by while the other teams whose forms were a lot better crashed and burned.

Their most recent loss, a hammering at the hands of Spanish giants Barcelona in their UEFA Europa League round of 32 fixture which saw the aggregate score end 6-4 made fans believe that Napoli lacked what it takes to go all the way in the Serie A.

The win showed character and Napoli boss Spaletti made this clear in his post-match comments, while also demanding respect for the way his side have approached games in the past few weeks.

“I think overall the team deserved the victory,” Spaletti said. “I want to underline that everyone keeps moaning that this team doesn’t have character, it’s soft, it’s sluggish, I want to hear them say that now.

“This team definitely has character. People said we couldn’t draw with Cagliari, but they went to beat Torino away from home today.

“We lost to Barcelona after getting a result at Camp Nou, it was my fault because I told them to take that approach.

“I see an ugly atmosphere around this team, people trying to say we lack character. I want to see them say that now. There are many games, but this team has potential, it has character and showed it tonight.

“This is not the same Lazio that we beat earlier this season because they play good football. They work together to press and attack you, so we were wide awake.“

Martin Graham is an MFF sports writer

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