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Osimhen’s Absence Haunts Napoli As 2-1 Loss To Spartak Moscow Makes Progress Tough

Spartak Moscow

November 24, (THEWILL) – Napoli’s Europa League hopes are in jeopardy after a 2-1 loss to Spartak Moscow. Eljif Elmas scored a late equaliser, but a poor start proved decisive.

Injuries to Victor Osimhen, Lorenzo Insigne, Diego Demme, Matteo Politano, and Andre Frank Zambo Anguissa decimated the Partenopei. As THEWILL reported, Osimhen will be out for about three months with multiple facial fractures.

To worsen matters for Napoli manager Luciano Spalletti, Ezequiel Ponce, Roman Zobnin, and Pavel Maslov were also absent from the team.

And, the Partenopei got off to the worst possible start when Stanislav Lobotka took down Quincy Promes well inside the box and Aleksandr Sobolev scored the penalty into the far top corner within two minutes of kickoff.

Napoli were rattled and came close to conceding again, with Sobolev’s header hitting the roof of the net and Alex Meret save a Victor Moses shot.

After 15 minutes, Napoli awoke, with Aleksandr Selikhov making a double stop on Eljif Elmas and a spectacular one-handed parry on Piotr Zielinski. These proved vital, as Sobolev doubled Spartak’s advantage with a back-post header from a Victor Moses cross.

In the 51st minute, Napoli’s Giovanni Di Lorenzo put the ball in the net, but the offside flag was raised because Andrea Petagna got a flick on the cross.

After the break, they were pinning Spartak back into their own half, with a Kalidou Koulibaly header being saved, a Dries Mertens volley being fingertipped over the bar, and a Hirving Lozano curler going wide.

Petagna floated a ball to the back post for Elmas to head in three minutes after the hour mark to give Napoli some hope of a leveller and the chance of retaining their leadership of Group C.

They pushed ahead for that equaliser and Di Lorenzo and Piotr Zielinski both had attempts blocked, while Elmas’ diving header from point-blank range forced another superb save from Selikhov in the final minute.

Napoli’s best efforts were in vain as Spartak Moscow held on to win. The victory helped them climb to the top of the group, with Legia Warsaw or Leicester City having a chance to overtake Napoli later in the other group encounter.