🇮🇹 Napoli honour Diego Maradona in style on magical night | OneFootball

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Padraig Whelan·29 November 2021

🇮🇹 Napoli honour Diego Maradona in style on magical night

Article image:🇮🇹 Napoli honour Diego Maradona in style on magical night

It was always going to be an emotional occasion at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona over the weekend.

A year on from the passing of the man who gave the stadium its name as Napoli’s greatest ever player, Lazio visited in Serie A action.

With fans locked out of games 12 months ago and unable to pay a proper tribute, they made up for it on an emotional night in Campania.

There were waterworks aplenty, both in the stands and from the sky but the downpour didn’t dampen the Partenopei’s spirits.

He was honoured with a lasting legacy on top of the stadium name too prior to kick-off as a statue of the iconic Argentine was unveiled.

And when the game got going, Napoli put in a performance that was so fitting of the occasion and the man they were honouring.

It was arguably their best of the season considering the quality of the opposition. They tore Lazio to shreds in a dominant 4-0 victory.

Sometimes in football, these things are just meant to be as the perfect cocktail of passion, emotion, skill and style came together from all involved to do justice to one of the game’s greats.

Inspired by their all-time top scorer Dries Mertens, who some fans dared suggest may have been past his best, they raced into a 3-0 lead after half an hour that didn’t even flatter them.

In the opposing dugout, Maurizio Sarri is unlikely to have found much amusement in the Belgian rediscovering his form against the man who helped get some of the best football out of him when he was on the bench at Napoli.

Both were gorgeous finishes, the first coming after a slalom which sent two defenders spiralling out of control before curling a beauty over Pepe Reina from the edge of the area.

Fabián Ruiz added a fourth after the break and in doing so became the man with the most goals from outside the penalty box in the top five leagues this season.

And all of that quality came while wearing this season’s famous jerseys featuring the face of El Pibe de Oro emblazoned across the chest.

There is no doubt that the night belonged to Maradona.

And there may be no greater tribute to him than this current crop becoming the only Napoli team ever to win the Scudetto that didn’t contain their No. 10 in the side.

They’ve extended their lead at the top to three points. Is Diego making Napoli dream once again?

And elsewhere …

  • Alessio Romagnoli had a day to forget as Milan suffered a second successive league defeat in going down 3-1 at home to Sassuolo despite taking the lead
  • Atalanta picked up their first win at Juventus since 1989, condemning them to a third home loss of the season (which already equals last season’s tally)
  • Inter also kept pace at the top with a routine victory away to Venezia

😱 Goal of the Weekend

Italy aren’t producing enough good centre forwards, you say? Gianluca Scamacca begs to differ.

🥇 Player of the Weekend

With Victor Osimhen’s injury giving Mertens a surprise chance, he is grasping it with both hands. The 34-year-old showed he still has plenty to offer for Napoli with two fantastic finishes. If they are to sustain their title charge, he’ll need to keep this level up.