Arkadiusz Milik, Lorenzo Insigne and a Simone Verdi penalty allowed Napoli to beat Sampdoria 3-0, but Fabio Quagliarella’s record scoring streak came to a halt.
Quagliarella had already matched Gabriel Batistuta’s 1994 record by finding the net in 11 consecutive Serie A appearances and a 12th would’ve been a new all-time record. It would’ve been even more extraordinary considering he turned 36 two days ago and was facing his beloved hometown club.
Napoli needed to get back on track after a Serie A stalemate with Milan and Coppa Italia quarter-final exit to the same team. Marek Hamsik and Allan returned after injury and transfer speculation respectively, with Raul Albiol rested. Samp had Dennis Praet suspended, Gianluca Caprari, Jacopo Sala and Edgar Barreto injured.
Sampdoria beat Napoli 3-0 at Marassi earlier this term, but hadn’t won home and away in a single season since 1997-98. The Blucerchiati managed just two draws and eight defeats at the San Paolo in Serie A since a 2-0 result in April 1998.
Jose Callejon curled over the far top corner and Emil Audero got one hand to a Lorenzo Insigne through ball for Arkadiusz Milik, but Gaston Ramirez nodded the Gregoire Defrel cross over the bar at the other end.
The deadlock was broken with a well-worked team move, as Callejon ran down the right on to an inspired Hamsik pass from midfield and timed the roll across perfectly for Arkadiusz Milik to fire into the roof of the net.
Under 60 seconds later, it was 2-0, as Insigne gathered the Callejon through ball on the edge of the box and shot on the turn into the far bottom corner with remarkable precision. It was his first goal since early November in all competition.
Quagliarella had the chance to get his historic goal, but Kalidou Koulibaly performed a crucial sliding tackle as he was pulling the trigger. He then couldn’t keep an over-hit Nicola Murru cross down at the back post and a half-volley was deflected over by Nikola Maksimovic.
Mario Rui stung Audero’s gloves with a ferocious strike from the edge of the area, while Milik had the ball in the net after a chaotic move, but Maksimovic was offside in the build-up.
Omar Colley’s decisive block prevented Hamsik pulling back in another well-worked Napoli attack.
Quagliarella attempted an audacious chest and bicycle-kick, but it was charged down by Allan, while Alex Meret dealt with Riccardo Saponara and Manolo Gabbiadini efforts from the edge of the area.
Bartosz Bereszynski’s volley skimmed the far post with Alex Meret stranded, though the goalkeeper did bravely throw himself at Quagliarella’s feet to block a chance.
In the final minute, the referee awarded a free kick for Andersen deflecting a Zielinski strike with his arm on the edge of the area, but VAR confirmed it was inside. The crowd chanted for Koulibaly to take, but Simone Verdi chipped it over Audero for 3-0.
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