Napoli crash out of UCL despite Osimhen goal

Napoli crash out of UCL despite Osimhen goal

Napoli are out of the UEFA Champions League after losing a keenly contested quarter final tie 2 – 1 on aggregate to AC Milan on Tuesday.

The Rossoneri took the lead through French striker Olivier Giroud in the 43rd minute after he had missed enough chances to put them ahead. They outclassed their hosts, who were without key players Kim Min-jae and Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa.

Napoli fought to secure a win in front of their home fans but having Osimhen was not enough to break the resolute defence of AC Milan, who had not made it past the round of 16 since the 2013/14 season.

Osimhen would bag a 93rd minute equaliser in the game which took the aggregate scoreline to 2 – 1.

The game came to an end in the 95th minute, effectively knocking the Partenopei out and ending their fairytale run in the competition.

The seven-time Champions League winners have now made it to the semi-finals at the expense of Victor Osimhen and teammates for the first time since 2006/07 when they went all the way to their seventh title.

It tracks with Inter Milan legend Beppe Bergomi's prediction that Osimhen would not be enough for the Neapolitans to make it past their Serie A rivals. Anguissa's absence gave Milan enough time in the middle of the park and Min-jae's tough tackling and physicality was missed.

Osimhen's strike partner Kvicha Kvaratskhelia missed a penalty earlier that could have equalised in the game long before the Nigeria international bagged his fifth goal in this season's Champions League.

It was a game filled with uncertainty for Luciano Spaletti's men and one that also puts Osimhen's ability to decide big games in the spotlight.

While it was glaring that the Partenopei missed the former RSC Charleroi man in the first leg, his presence in the second did not cause much problems for the Rossoneri. He scored a goal that was rightly ruled out for a handball in the buildup but he was also shut out by the Milan defence for most of the game.

The 93rd minute goal was Osimhen's first against AC Milan in the three years he has been with Napoli. The round of 16 tie against Eintracht Frankfurt happens to be the biggest match he has scored in since he joined Napoli. While his numbers across all competitions for the club have been great, in the Serie A, he is yet to score against the big names.

He has drawn blanks against Juventus, Inter Milan and AS Roma. Injuries prevented him from having a smooth Champions League but he was unable to produce the goods when his team needed him.

It is a harsh criticism, given that he had the ball in the back of the net twice, but detractors will amplify this fact to sell the idea that the 24-year-old has still not reached the level of a world class striker despite his incredible numbers and ability.

He will now look to salvage the season by winning the Scudetto for Napoli in the coming weeks.

This article was most recently revised and updated 11 months ago

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