The AFCON qualifiers 2023 top scorer, Victor Osimhen, scored the most important goal of his career against Udinese on Thursday night while playing for Napoli in the Italian Serie A.
His equalising goal, which was his 22nd of the league season, won the Partenopei their first Serie A title in 33 years. His performance has made him into a Napoli legend much like Diego Maradona, after whom their stadium was named in 2021 following his passing in November 2020.
The celebrations are ongoing in the city of Naples as the government has declared a holiday to celebrate the monumental achievement.
Udinese 1-1 Napoli: As it happened
Napoli went into the tie with a 15 points lead over Lazio, the second-placed team. Victor Osimhen also went into the tie with 21 goals, tied with legendary Cameroon striker and current Cameroon Football Association president Samuel Eto'o for the most goals scored by an African player in the Serie A.
He was also a goal short of George Weah's total haul in the Serie A. A win or a draw for the Partenopei would see them win the league with 16 or more points and five games to go.
A goal for Osimhen would have seen him break Eto'o's single season record and tie Weah's all time record. It would have also made him only the second Nigerian to win the Scudetto after another famous Super Eagles striker, Obafemi Martins.
All of these happened on a very special night for the man expected to bag the AFCON 2023 golden boot in Ivory Coast.
– Joins Obafemi Martins as second Nigerian ever to win the Scudetto.
– Overtakes Samuel Eto'o for most goals by an African in a Serie A season.
– Equals George Weah for most goals scored by an African in Serie A history.
Victor Osimhen had quite an unforgettable night ✨ pic.twitter.com/ysrIrzxBo9
— Soar Super Eagles (@SSE_NGA) May 4, 2023
Udinese took an early lead through a Sandi Lovric goal in the 13th minute. The visiting Napoli fans, who waved several Diego Maradona banners in anticipation of a title victory at the Dacia Arena were silenced after that.
The home side kept their visitors at bay for most of the game while baring their fangs all through. Osimhen sparked wild jubilations among the Maradona banner-wielding fans when he scored a well placed shot off a goalkeeper rebound from 12 yards.
The fans at home also went wild after his goal was shown on their screens as they looked forward to their first Scudetto since 1990. The final whistle confirmed it and the celebrations got louder than before. It will be a night to remember for a long time.
Osimhen looking forward to celebrating with fans
Osimhen, who is currently on the transfer list of Manchester United and Chelsea, two of the Premier League‘s biggest clubs, was beyond himself with excitement after scoring the goal that ended the Scudetto drought for Napoli.
“I’m thrilled with this victory,” he said to Sky Sports Italy (as quoted by Tutto Napoli) after the game. “I’m happy for me, for the team, and for the fans. I can’t wait to come back and embrace our fans, even though tonight I already felt the warmth of the people. I’m happy for all the Neapolitans.
“I scored the Scudetto goal, it’s true, but anyone else could have scored it.”
This was Victor Osimhen and his now late dad at the Lagos airport on their way to Wolfsburg in January 2016. He struggled in Germany , was loaned out to Belgium, sold to Charleroi, moved to Lille before an African record transfer to Napoli. Today he handed Napoli the Scudetto. https://t.co/Jqo2foXq3v
— Lolade Adewuyi (@Jololade) May 4, 2023
The former RSC Charleroi man would later go on Instagram live to celebrate with his fans, where he was joined by Mario Balotelli, who praised him for his efforts in bringing back the joy of a title celebration to the Southern Italian city of Naples.
“You don't know what you have done for the city just yet,” Balotelli was heard telling the Nigeria national football team forward. “You will understand it in 10 years.”
This article was most recently revised and updated 2 weeks ago