Napoli striker Victor Osimhen has returned to action as Napoli prepare to face AC Milan in the second leg of the UEFA Champions League quarter final clash.
Osimhen picked up an injury while on international duty with Nigeria in March and, as a result, missed two weeks of action for the Serie A league leaders. Among the games missed by the Nigerian were crunch clashes with AC Milan in the league and the Champions League.
Napoli lost both games, scoring no goals in the process. It did not affect their Serie A standing, but their fairytale season in the Champions League was put in jeopardy.
Osimhen's absence was greatly felt in both ties and the prognosis of injury taking at least three weeks to heal was a scary prospect for the Partenopei. They will now count themselves lucky to have him back earlier than predicted.
Osimhen came on in the 70th minute of Napoli's 0 – 0 draw with Hellas Verona in the Serie A on Saturday and his 20-minute cameo showed the team what they had missed against the Rossoneri.
Despite only recovering from injury and despite being the best player in the team and league all season, he played with the urgency of a man who had one chance to impress. His hunger and drive for a goal caused the visitors problems. They will count themselves lucky to have taken a point from the league leaders thanks to an effort from the Nigeria international hitting the woodwork late in the game.
That cameo will give the fans and Luciano Spaletti some hope as they attempt to seal a Champions League semi-final ticket. Osimhen will be leading the line for the Southern Italy club which will also put Milan on high alert as they prepare to defend their 1 – 0 scoreline from the first leg.
They conceded 15 shots to their hosts in the first leg without picking the ball out of the back of the net. That was also Napoli's poorest outcome after having that many shots in a game this season. With Osimhen, a similar number will definitely lead to a few goals and this could see the Serie A champions-elect continue their Champions League fairytale.
Milan can count on the fact that they are one of the few teams that the Super Eagles striker has not scored against. Spaletti will also have this to worry about as the game draws near. He will, however, be more buoyed by Osimhen's return that by getting the Nigerian on the scoresheet in that game.
Osimhen has 21 goals and five assists in 24 Serie A games. He has four goals in five Champions League games. He is third in the European golden boot race and the outright leader of the Serie A Capocannoniere race.
He will be the first African to win the award in Italy if he ends the season as the highest goalscorer. He is also in the lead for Serie A player of the year and will be the first African to win the award should things remain the same come May.
This article was most recently revised and updated 2 weeks ago