By Temisan Amoye
Nigerian striker Victor Osimhen was shown a straight red for violent conduct after appearing to punch defender Daan Heymans in Napoli’s Serie A opener against Venezia.
Despite the disadvantage, ten-man Napoli had the quality to see out a 2-0 win against newly-promoted Venezia, who had Super Eagles defender, Tyrone Ebuehi in their starting XI.
The incident occurred 23 minutes into the match, Napoli were set to take a corner when Osimhen reacted violently to being tightly marked by Heymans.
VAR showed the 22-year old seemed to push Heymans, catching him on his throat with a fist, prompting referee Gianluca Aureliano to issue a straight red to Osimhen.
Osimhen’s sending off did little to dampen Napoli’s efforts, with Spaletti’s men pushing for a goal despite being one man down. Their efforts were rewarded in the 55th minute, with referee Aureliano awarding Napoli a penalty due to a Caldara handball in the Venezia box.
Captain Insigne stepped up but missed from the spot. The Italian forward was not to be denied for long, as he coolly slotted another penalty kick in the 61st minute. The penalty was awarded courtesy of a Ceccaroni handball in the Venezia box.
Napoli who finished in fifth place last season and have their sights on securing a Champions League spot by the end of the season, increased their lead to 2-0 when Montenegrin substitute, Eljif Elmas struck a low powerful shot beyond Maenpaa into the bottom left corner of the Venezia goal.
Venezia failed to make their numerical advantage count, with Napoli seeing out a comfortable win over the newly-promoted side.
Reacting after the match, Napoli boss cautioned Osimhen on his future reactions
Spaletti said, ” The expulsion of Osimhen? He has to be careful of his emotional reactions,”
“He is a strong attacker and all defenders will help each other. He will always have his hands on the defenders. He must be careful. The referee was corrected when I went to talk to him and he explained what he saw.”
Osimhen faces a minimum of a one-match ban, which means he’s certain to miss the Genoa clash.
The red card marks Osimhen’s second sending off since making the switch from Lille to Napoli in July 2020. He scored 10 goals and assisted thrice in 30 appearances in his debut season with the Partenopei.