MILAN: Gonzalo Higuain took his tally to 20 goals in as many Serie A games this season as Napoli took their points tally to 44 points after a thrilling 3-1 win over Sassuolo on Saturday.
Until Saturday’s clash in Naples, impressive Sassuolo had gone unbeaten against five of this season’s title challengers having claimed wins over Napoli, Juventus and Inter and drawn with Roma and Fiorentina.
But Higuain, who is well on his way to this season’s Capocannoniere (top scorer) award, did brilliantly to give Napoli a 42nd minute lead after Jose Callejon’s 19th-minute header cancelled out Diego Falcinelli’s opener from the spot.
Even before his second goal, he had already done enough to earn the praise of Sassuolo coach Eusebio Di Francesco.
“For 41 minutes my defenders made sure he didn’t get a touch. Then on his first touch of the ball he showed all his class,” said Di Francesco. “You don’t need me to explain how good he is.”
Just as Napoli were hanging on to a 2-1 lead, Higuain beat Andrea Consigli with a fierce shot from inside the area in the third minute of added-on time to wrap up the win.
Napoli’s 13th win of the campaign leaves them top on 44 points with a four-point cushion on Inter, who scraped a 1-1 draw away to Atalanta to drop points for the second consecutive match after last week’s defeat to Sassuolo.
Napoli coach Maurizio Sarri has been credited with transforming a side that finished fifth under Rafael Benitez last season, but he was quick to praise his players.
“This was a good and important win for us,” said Sarri. “It wasn’t easy to come back into the game but the reaction the lads gave showed that they are a real team.”
Published in The Express Tribune, January 18th, 2016.
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