'It was important to him' – Napoli captain Insigne matches Maradona goal haul

By Sports Desk January 23, 2022

Lorenzo Insigne moved alongside Diego Maradona on Napoli's all-time list of leading goalscorers after hitting his 115th goal for the Serie A club.

The Italy international converted a penalty early in the second half of Sunday's 4-1 derby win against Salernitana.

That meant he joined Maradona in a tie for third place in the Napoli record books.

Dries Mertens heads that list and slotted a penalty just before half-time to give Napoli a 2-1 lead, his 144th goal for the club.

Belgium international Mertens stepped aside to allow Insigne to take responsibility for the second spot-kick in the 53rd minute.

Insigne had come on as a substitute for the start of the second half, and Mertens said: "I left the second penalty to Lorenzo because it was important to him."

Writing on Instagram after the match, Insigne expressed his delight at the victory.

He will leave at the end of the season to join Toronto FC, but the 30-year-old insisted he would always hold the club dear.

"The derbies are not played… they are won…. We continue like this until the end," Insigne wrote. "Always and forever FORZA NAPOLI."

Insigne is now six goals behind second-placed Marek Hamsik on the Napoli goalscoring list.

The late Argentina legend Maradona remains the greatest and most revered player in Napoli's history, having joined from Barcelona in 1984 and spent seven years in Naples.

He helped Napoli win league titles in 1986-87 and 1989-90 – the only Serie A championships the club have won – and his death in November sparked an outpouring of grief in the city.

Sunday's goal was Insigne's sixth goal of the season across all competitions, with Napoli's win moving them just four points behind Serie A leaders Inter.

Mertens believes Napoli can still push Inter hard for the title, saying on the club's website: "We must continue like this and look only at us. The championship is still long and we can be protagonists."

Related items

  • Barcelona not in a position to sign Lewandowski, insists LaLiga president Tebas Barcelona not in a position to sign Lewandowski, insists LaLiga president Tebas

    Barcelona are not in a position to finance a deal for Bayern Munich star Robert Lewandowski, according to LaLiga president Javier Tebas.

    Lewandowski last week confirmed that he has informed Bayern he will not be extending his contract beyond the end of next season.

    The Poland international hinted he is interested in a move away from the Allianz Arena in the upcoming transfer window, rather than departing as a free agent in a year's time.

    Barca are the favourites to land Europe's most prolific striker, with head coach Xavi insisting age would not be a barrier when it comes to his rebuild project.

    However, uncertainty lingers over whether Barca have the financial clout to make a move as they attempt to come through an economic crisis that has hit Camp Nou hard.

    And unless certain players, such as midfielder Frenkie de Jong, are sold to bring in additional funds, Tebas does not see the Lewandowski transfer being a possibility.

    "The numbers are easy: if you have more than €500million losses from the past two years, you have to recover money," Tebas is quoted as saying by Spanish publication Sport.

    "Lewandowski has one year left at Bayern. Between what he wants to earn and what Bayern want to take... as of today I don't see him at Barcelona. Other things must happen.

    "Selling players could be enough, depending on how much they raise and what Lewandowski costs. It could be €100m plus that is saved.

    "De Jong could give them that possibility, but I don't know if they are even planning to sell. To date they have not sold him."

     

    Lewandowski has scored 50 goals in 46 games for Bayern in all competitions this season, making him the top scorer among players from Europe's top five leagues.

    Next on that list is Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema with 44, followed by Paris Saint-Germain's Kylian Mbappe with 36 in 45 matches.

    Mbappe had been widely expected to join Benzema at Madrid next season, but reports on Friday suggested the forward might decide to stay at PSG.

    However, Tebas expects the France international to end up at the Santiago Bernabeu in the coming weeks.

    "I think he'll be at Real Madrid, though one day he is white and another day he is black – he changes," Tebas said. "But yes, I think [he'll sign for Madrid].

    ”I have seen these twists and turns so many times – it's not unexpected, because there are always twists. 

    "The feeling I have is that if he had wanted to renew he would have already done so, but I could be wrong."

  • Ruud en route to another Geneva title, Norrie nears Lyon redemption Ruud en route to another Geneva title, Norrie nears Lyon redemption

    Casper Ruud is one match away from successfully retaining his Geneva Open title, while Cameron Norrie has a shot at redemption in Lyon. 

    World number nine Ruud was a 7-6 (7-2) 7-5 winner against Reilly Opelka on Friday, putting him on the brink of a second ATP Tour crown of the season and a sixth in his past seven ATP 250 events on clay. 

    The Norwegian made the semi-finals at the Internazionali d'Italia last week and maintained his momentum ahead of the French Open. 

    He converted the match's only breakpoint in the penultimate game and sealed the deal in the next, dropping just five of 46 points behind his first serve throughout.

    Ruud will take on Joao Sousa – who was the runner-up to Thomaz Bellucci in Geneva seven years ago – in the final after the Portuguese defeated Richard Gasquet 6-2 6-2. 

    Norrie will also be hopeful of making up for a past final defeat after winning his last-four encounter with Holger Rune at the Lyon Open. 

    The Briton was a set and a break up before Rune recovered to force a decider, which Norrie took for a 6-2 5-7 6-4 triumph in a little over two hours.

    Norrie was beaten by Stefanos Tsitsipas in last year's final but it is Alex Molcan who stands between him and the trophy this time around. 

    Molcan, who is yet to win a Tour-level title, claimed an impressive victory 7-6 (7-2) 6-2 win over Alex de Minaur. 

  • Ashwin helps Royals to top-two finish despite Ali heroics for CSK Ashwin helps Royals to top-two finish despite Ali heroics for CSK

    Ravichandran Ashwin blasted an unbeaten 40 as Rajasthan Royals secured a top-two finish in the Indian Premier League with a dramatic five-wicket win over Chennai Super Kings.

    Moeen Ali breezed to a 19-ball half-century as the Super Kings raced to 75-1 at the end of the powerplay, but they did not capitalise on their early impetus in Mumbai on Friday.

    Spinners Yuzvendra Chahal (2-26) and Obed McCoy (2-20) were the pick of the bowlers to peg back Chennai, with MS Dhoni (26) the only other batter to pass 20 in support of Ali (93) in the Super Kings' 150-6.

    Jos Buttler fell for just two to Simarjeet Singh (1-18) in response, before Sanju Samson (15) followed to Mitchell Santner (1-15) and Ali bowled Devdutt Padikkal (3) to leave the Royals 76-3 in the 12th over.

    Opener Yashasvi Jaiswal batted on as his partners fell, making 59 off 44 balls before being dismissed by Prashant Solanki, with Rajasthan requiring a further 47 to win from the last five overs.

    Solanki soon added the dangerous Shimron Hetmyer (6) to his list of scalps, but Ashwin – promoted up the order – took charge of the chase to see his side over the line with two balls to spare.

    Victory meant Rajasthan will have two chances in the playoffs to make the final on May 29. Lucknow Super Giants must settle for third place.

    Ali efforts in vain

    All eyes were on Buttler, who leads the run charts with 629 in this year's IPL, but it was England team-mate Ali who delivered a scintillating performance at the Brabourne Stadium.

    The 34-year-old fell in the final over just seven short of a century after a tremendous 57-ball innings that included 13 fours and three sixes.

    He then superbly posted figures of 1-21 with the ball from his four-over allocation – but his efforts ultimately proved in vain, with Ashwin's 40 from 23 proving decisive.

    Chahal equals spin record

    Chahal once again edged ahead of Royal Challengers Bangalore's Wanindu Hasaranga in the battle to be the competition's top wicket-taker.

    The Royals' leg-spinner picked up two wickets, while going at just 6.5 an over, and equalled Imran Tahir's tally of 26 (in 2019) for the most wickets by a spinner in a single IPL season.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.