Napoli won comprehensively against Roma in Serie A on Sunday evening and the performance was a great way to mark the memory of Diego Maradona.
The Argentinian legend passed away on Wednesday at the age of 60 and the Partenopei defeated the Giallorossi 4-0 in the first Derby del Sole for 2020/21. Aside from being the first Italian league match the Neapolitans played since the death of ‘El Pibe de Oro’, this result will be remembered for other reasons.
This Week 9 result equalled Napoli’s highest score and margin against Roma. The Ciucciarelli also won 4-0 against the Lupi in Serie A in 1971 and 1980.
Maradona was the Partenopei’s captain and creative spark during their glory days from the mid-1980s to the early 1990s and it was fitting that the current Napoli captain and chief creator Lorenzo Insigne starred against the Romans.
The left-winger scored the opening goal with a sumptuous free-kick; assisted in the second Ciucciarelli goal, which was scored from outside the box by Fabian Ruiz; and was involved in the fourth goal, which Matteo Politano scored.
With that display, Insigne became the only player to have scored a goal and provided an assist in each of the last nine seasons from 2012/13. The 29-year-old also surpassed another club icon in Luis Vinicio to become their 10th highest scorer in Serie A with 69 goals.
Napoli have an uncanny ability to score goals from outside of the penalty area and their long-range shooting ability was there to see against Roma.
Insigne’s free-kick was the third he scored in Serie A and Fabian Ruiz’s goal was the ninth of his Italian league career. Five of those goals have been scored from long range, including the last four.
No other squad during the 2020/21 Italian league season so far has scored more goals from outside the box than the Partenopei, who have scored five times in that manner.
It was also a history-making night for Napoli tactician Gennaro Gattuso, who obtained his 50th Serie A victory as a coach and became the first Ciucciarelli coach to win his first two Serie A encounters against Roma.
It was also fitting that Dries Mertens was among the scorers as he scored the Partenopei’s third against Roma. Maradona with 115 competitive goals is now third on the all-time goalscorer’s list at the southern Italian club while Marek Hamsik is second with 121 and the Belgian is first with 129 and counting.
Napoli mourned the loss of an icon of their club and city but it was also a celebration of his exciting as well as tumultuous life. Against a Roma side that had been in form, the Ciucciarelli tore the Lupi apart.
Although Maradona is no longer alive, his spirit and inspiration will live on and Napoli’s performance against Roma surely would have made the legendary Argentine proud.