Nigeria international Victor Osimhen scored a brace in Europa League Group match against English side Leicester City at the King Power Stadium. The former African Best Player Ligue 1 who has been involved in nine goals in 10 appearances for Napoli in all competitions with seven goals, troubled the Leicester defense in a night fellow compatriot, Nigeria and Leicester defender Wilfred Ndidi was sent –off for second bookable offence.
With both team favourites to lift the trophy in Seville in May, considering their credentials, Napoli opened the encounter with first threats from Osimhen in an early effort minutes into the match. But goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel spilled drive from distance. But with the match obviously now looking advantageous from the home side, the pressure was slightly upon Napoli with another Nigerian international Kelechi Iheanacho pulling a cross to a close range as Perez effort which got to Barnes, was saved by former Arsenal goalkeeper David Ospina.
The growing confidence by the Leicester attackers gained momentum just nine minutes as Barnes burst to a comfortable position having swapped passes with Zambia international winger Patson Daka who delivered cross for Perez was volley in at far post.
Napoli recognizing, they have to get back to the game showed some character of a fighter, with Osimhen marking the defenders of Leicester City in their box to relieve pressure from the Napoli’s midfield. In his typical style, when the drive of the ball was played to him, Victor Osimhen responded well combining beautifully with his team-mate Malcuit to shoot over after 29 minutes. He was back again beating Jonny Evans to cross, but the combination of Timothy Castagne and Goalkeeper Schmeichel denied the effort reaching Zielinski.
In spite of the Italian side commanding play with the Nigerian international Osimhen achieving pivotal role in the first half, although Napoli was wasteful in front of goal with Leicester goalkeeper making some good saves to ensure they went into the break ahead. The goal scored by Ayoze Perez was his first in his goal drought in 15 matches.
On resumption from the break, Napoli a team that has been in form in Italian Serie A with three win in three matches this season, quickly got control of the starting second half with Italy international Lorenzo Inzigne drilled wide as the Foxes struggled to regain rhythm.
Realizing the need for urgency before the 59 minutes goal by Leicester City, former Liverpool coach, now at the helm of affairs as manager of Leicester Brendan Rodgers replaced two attackers Jonny Evans and Perez with Youri Tielemans and Caglar Soyuncu. The introduction of Tielemans almost paid –off in the match with his offensive play, keeping possession of the ball, got the ball to Zambian striker, Daka which resulted to a denied goal by the VAR for an offside. But the Foxes kept the momentum to score a second goal five minutes later with Harvey Barnes finding the net following a flowing counter attack as Foxes were obviously on the cruiser driver’s seat.
Osimhen, the Nigerian top notch striker rescued one for the Italian club side with a goal in the 21 minute of the second half. Captain Insigne combination with Elif Elmas and Fabian Ruiz of the box was brilliant, while the ball got to the former Nigerian junior international, he stylishly held- off Jannick Vestergaard and lifting the ball over Denmark international goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel from six yards.
Victor Osimhen was back again at the twilight of the match with five minutes to go, he scored the second goal with a header to level scored at 2-2. Leicester City who is playing their first home European game with fans since their Champions League quarter- final against Athletico Madrid in 2017. Obviously will blame themselves after several efforts from Nigerian international Kelechi Iheanacho and team mate- failure to convert various missed opportunities in the second half.Meanwhile, Leicester resume their English Premier League quest for title with an away game against Brighton on Sunday and their next Europa League match is away to Legia Warsaw on September 30 before the break for international matches.