Napoli left it late to beat record-time Italian champions Juventus 1-0 on Sunday night and move a step away from breaking a 33-year Scudetto drought.
Giacomo Raspadori’s last-gasp winner helped Luciano Spalletti’s side go 17 points clear of second-placed Lazio in the Serie A table and complete only their fourth-ever top-flight double over the Bianconeri.
With seven games left, the southern heavyweights are on their way to dethrone last season’s champions AC Milan and may not have to wait long to make it official.
Napoli will take on season-long bottom-half strugglers Salernitana at the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium next weekend in a match that could cement them as Serie A winners.
There are only 21 points left to play for, and the Partenopei could seal the deal this weekend if they live up to their tag as pre-match favourites and other results go their way.
With runners-up Lazio heading to Giuseppe Meazza to encounter Champions League semi-finalists Inter Milan, Spalletti’s team could celebrate a long-overdue title in front of the home crowd.
Even if Maurizio Sarri’s men somehow emerge victorious at Meazza, it would only postpone the inevitable, but there’s no doubt Napoli would like to throw a celebration party in Naples.
Inspired by Victor Osimhen and Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, Spalletti’s side have reigned supreme in Serie A this season, averaging 2.16 goals per match.
However, Napoli’s resounding domestic success is a double-edged sword.
The club’s standout performers now have a host of foreign suitors ready to use a truckload of money to prise them away from southern Italy.
In addition to Osimhen and Kvaratskhelia, the Partneopei will have to fight tooth and nail to keep hold of in-demand defender Kim Min-jae, who’s drawn attention from Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United.
Luckily for Napoli, the lure of fighting for major honours could be incentivising enough to convince their star players to throw away offers from abroad and pledge their fate to the blue jersey.
Despite bowing out of the Champions League quarter-finals at the hands of Milan, Spalletti’s team didn’t disappoint in Europe, reaching the last eight for the first time in the club’s history.
As Serie A champions in the making, they will have another shot at continental glory next season, and if everything goes according to plan, this same group of players will lead the charge in 2023/24.
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