Napoli bounce back from Juve no-show to crush Atalanta
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Naples (Italy) (AFP) –
Hirving Lozano bagged a brace as Napoli thumped Atalanta 4-1 on Saturday, days after they were punished for failing to turn up for their last Serie A game against Juventus.
Napoli were handed a 3-0 defeat and one-point deduction for not travelling to Turin earlier this month after two cases of coronavirus in the team were recorded.
But Gennaro Gattuso's side picked up where they left off before the controversy, with a third win in as many league games they have played.
"Brilliant Napoli! What a pity not being able to play Juventus in Turin," tweeted Napoli owner Aurelio De Laurentiis.
Mexican forward Lozano scored two quick-fire goals in the first half, having also picked up a brace in Napoli's previous completed match -- a 6-0 win over Genoa also at the San Paolo Stadium.
Matteo Politano blasted in a third after half an hour with Victor Osimhen grabbing his first Napoli goal just before the break.
Slovenian forward Josip Ilicic returned for highly-fancied Atalanta after nearly three months out with personal problems, starting up front alongside Papu Gomez and Duvan Zapata.
But with many players returning from international duty Gian Piero Gasperini's side lacked the fire power of their previous three games in which they had scored 13 goals.
France midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko got his first start for Napoli with Lorenzo Insigne injured and Piotr Zielinski and Eljif Elmas still recovering from coronavirus.
Lozano tapped in a Giovanni Di Lorenzo cross after 20 minutes, curling in the second minutes later after a mix-up in the Atalanta defence.
Politano blasted in a third after half an hour with Osimhen grabbing his first Napoli goal just before the break after another defensive blunder from Atalanta.
Nigerian Osimhen held up a t-shirt after his debut goal on which was written "End Police Brutality in Nigeria" as protests against police violence continue in his home country.
Substitute Sam Lammers pulled a goal back with 20 minutes to go, but Atalanta drop off top spot into second place with Napoli a point behind them in third.
Later Saturday, Zlatan Ibrahimovic prepares to return in the Milan derby, while Juventus will be without Cristiano Ronaldo as they head south to Crotone.
© 2020 AFP