Victor Osimhen: New Napoli Coach Explains Why He Subbed off Nigeria Star for Second Game in a Row

Victor Osimhen: New Napoli Coach Explains Why He Subbed off Nigeria Star for Second Game in a Row

Edwin Kiplagat
February 26, 2024 at 8:49 AM
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  • Victor Osimhen scored for Napoli against Cagliari on Sunday
  • The reigning Serie A champions conceded a last-minute goal
  • Napoli's coach subbed his striker for the second game in a row

Victor Osimhen was on target for Napoli against Cagliari in the Serie A on Sunday, February 25, but the defending champions drew 1-1.

It was Osimhen's second game for Napoli after the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations final, which Nigeria lost to Ivory Coast.

New Napoli coach Francesco Calzona has given an explanation as to why he replaced the striker for the second game in a row.

Victor Osimhen, Francesco Calzona, Napoli, Cagliari, SErie A, Barcelona
Victor Osimhen is Francesco Calzona's best player at Napoli. Photos by Isabella Bonotto/Anadolu and Enrico Locci.
Source: Getty Images

Earlier last week, the Super Eagles star rescued a point for his side at home against Barcelona in the Champions League Round of 16. However, he was subbed off, moments after scoring.

On Sunday, Osimhen was brilliant. He missed a few chances but was in the right place to head in Giacomo Raspadori's beautiful cross in the 65th minute.

The Partenopei failed to seal the win with a second goal. Cagliari's Zito Luvumbo equalised at the death, denying Calzona his first win as Napoli boss.

Napoli are 9th in the Serie A table after 25 matches. Their title defence is all but over since they are 29 points behind league leaders Inter Milan.

Calzona on replacing Osimhen

Calzona was hired 48 hours before Napoli's clash with Barcelona. His two matches in charge have not resulted in a victory, per AP.

He subbed Osimhen late against Cagliari when the African Footballer of the Year appeared to have sustained an injury. He clarified the situation after the game.

“He was only tired. Victor is a fantastic guy. He scored two goals in two matches and will slowly get back in shape,” via Football Italia.

Calzona added that the striker was affected by the AFCON.

“Don’t forget he played at AFCON. Players are devastated when they return. He was tired also against Barcelona, but players always want to stay on the pitch.”

Napoli host Juventus in their next match, looking to register their second win in seven matches in all competitions.

Calzona's warning to Osimhen

Sports Brief earlier reported on Calzona sending a warning to Osimhen and Napoli players after the Nigerian was subbed off shortly after scoring against Barcelona.

"I keep the players on the field who are doing well, I don’t look at their names. Matteo Politano had an excellent match - he was defending well too with great vigour. Those who do not do well can be removed."

The 25-year-old has now scored 10 goals in 20 appearances this season.

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Edwin Kiplagat
Edwin Kiplagat has five years of experience in journalism working as a Sports Editor at Africa Insight Communications and ESPN. Edwin Kiplagat is a Bachelor's Degree holder in journalism from the Multimedia University of Kenya.