Italian side Napoli put four goals past Atalanta in a blistering 20-minute first half spell as they thrashed their visitors 4-1 in Serie A on Saturday. It was a case of handing the men from Bergamo a taste of their own medicine.
The free-scoring Atalanta side, who were last season’s top-scorers with 98 goals, had continued from where they stopped last season, netting 13 goals in winning their first three games. However, they had no answer to Napoli’s blitz in an extraordinary first 45 minutes.
Mexico international Hirving Lozano was an unyielding thorn in Atalanta’s side. Out of favour with coach Gennaro Gattuso last season, the centre forward set Napoli on their way with two goals in four minutes. Popularly called “Chucky”, he tapped in from Giovanni Di Lorenzo’s cross in the 23rd minute and curled in the second after the Belgian Dries Mertens pounced on a mix-up in the Atalanta midfield.
Napoli’s third came off the boot of Matteo Politano on the half hour and Nigerian forward Victor Osimhen took advantage of more horrendous defending to score the fourth before the interval.
For that last goal, Napoli goalkeeper David Ospina secured an assist. His kick upfield was misjudged by on-loan Argentine Cristian Romero. Osimhen, signed from Lille in the summer, took full advantage. He chested the ball down and scored with a shot on the turn to open his account for his new club.
Romero partially made amends for his misjudgment by setting up Atalanta’s consolation which substitute Dutch centre forward Sam Lammers converted in the 69th minute. He won possession, charged upfield and released Lammers who clipped his shot past Ospina.
The final whistle meant that Atalanta remained on nine points from four games, one ahead of Napoli.
Napoli have won all three of their games on the pitch, scoring 12 goals and conceding one. They sit third in the table.
However, Serie A’s disciplinary committee handed them a 3-0 defeat for failing to play a match against Juventus amid confusion over the COVID-19 rules and they also had a point deducted as penalty.