Napoli’s Nigerian striker Victor Osihen scored again as the Serie A leaders beat Eintracht Frankfurt 2-0 in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie on Tuesday.
Osihen scored before the break and Giovanni Di Lorenzo doubled their lead after the break ahead of the second leg in southern Italy on March 15.
Frankfurt were reduced to ten men early in the second half after a fierce challenge from striker Randall Kolo Muani hit Napoli’s Frank Anguisa in the shin.
The visitors soon doubled their lead when Khvicha Kvaratskhelia set up Giovanni Di Lorenzo with a superb backheel to put Napoli on course for a first-ever Champions League quarter-final appearance.
Lozano told Sky Sports after the game that Napoli “did a great job against a formidable opponent. It was difficult at first, but we played a fantastic game.”
“Napoli” head coach Luciano Spalletti told Sky Sports. “We played well from the start, especially against a team that knows what to do tactically.
“It was a game from start to finish that we strive for and succeed in… There is still a second round. our greatest enemy thinks it’s over.”
Frankfurt started the stronger, buoyed by a home crowd celebrating the club’s first foray into the knockout stages of the Champions League, with in-form striker Randal Kolo Muani creating a goal-scoring opportunity from nothing four minutes later.
The French forward headed the ball in the Napoli penalty area, turning to the right with a vertical pass.
The visitors’ quality began to show during the first half as the Serie A leaders dominated possession and field position.
After 34 minutes, Mexico winger Lozano rocketed over the post, but Frankfurt defender Aurelio Buta pulled Osihen’s legs out from under him to clear the ball in the box.
Kvaratskhelia converted the penalty, but despite hitting the ball well, Frankfurt keeper Kevin Trapp deflected the ball into the corner.
Frankfurt’s relief was short-lived, however, as Napoli scored through Osimen three minutes later.
Stanislav Lobotka intercepted Mario Gotze’s neat pass and sent the ball vertically down the right wing to Lozano running deep into Napoli’s own area.
Lozano, who was rested in Serie A last weekend, curled a low cross past the posts, cutting perfectly between Trapp and the Frankfurt defense at Osimen’s feet.
A minute later, the Nigerian striker looked to have another chance when he turned in another excellent cross from Lozano, but the goal was disallowed for offside.
After the game, Frankfurt manager Oliver Glassner bemoaned the “little mistakes we made that Napoli took advantage of” to take a 1-0 lead in the second leg.
“We made a mistake midway through and Napoli had the speed and quality to take advantage of it,” Glassner explained.
“Then we showed our inexperience and nervousness, and the 2-0 result was expected after the red card.
“When you’ve only lost two games in eight months, you get a lot of confidence and you know what you’re doing.”
Frankfurt’s Mario Gotze said his side could still pull off an incredible comeback.
“We scored two goals. why can’t we do the same? Anything is possible away from home and we’ll do everything we can to get there.”