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Football: Osimhen scores his 2nd hat-trick for Naples

Football: Osimhen scores his 2nd hat-trick for Naples
Napoli's Victor Osimhen gives the thumb up sign after he scored a hat trick during the Serie A soccer match between Sassuolo   -  
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Massimo Paolone/LaPresse

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Napoli finally produced an explosive performance reminiscent of their title from last season. Victor Osimhen scored a hat-trick and the struggling Serie A champions routed relegation-threatened Sassuolo 6-1 on Wednesday.

This first victory under the leadership of new coach Francesco Calzona allows Naples to remain in 9th place but to return to equal points with Lazio (8th) and to put itself back in the race for qualification for Europe.

Calzona, Napoli's third coach this season, was hired last week to replace Walter Mazzarri , who was fired, and has so far produced draws against Barcelona in the Champions League and against Cagliari in Serie A.

Third-placed Sassuolo extended their seven-match winless streak in their first match under the leadership of Emiliano Bigica , who replaced the sacked Alessio Dionisi on Sunday .

In a match between two of the biggest disappointments of the season, Sassuolo took the early advantage thanks to a goal from Uros Racic on a long, curved shot low to the ground. Napoli defender Amir Rrahmani equalized after being served by Giovanni Di Lorenzo and André-Frank Zambo Anguissa .

Osimhen then took over by scoring three goals in 16 minutes.

Matteo Politano set up Osimhen's first two goals, allowing last season's top scorer to score twice. Khvicha Kvaratskhelia then intercepted a pass from a Sassuolo defender and passed the ball to Osimhen for another easy goal.

Kvaratskhelia got on the scoreboard himself, dribbling from the left wing and firing a precise shot through a crowd of defenders. The Georgian dribbler then scored again by collecting a rebound of his own shot and sending another long shot.

Osimhen became the third Napoli player to score at least 10 goals in four consecutive seasons, after Diego Maradona (1984-85 to 1987-88) and Attila Sallustro (1929-30 to 1932-33).

It was the second hat-trick in Italy for Osimhen, who has scored five goals in three matches in seven days since returning from the Africa Cup of Nations , where he helped Nigeria reach the final.

Napoli travel to Barcelona for the second leg of their Champions League round of 16 tie on March 12.

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