Super Eagles striker Victor Osimhen scored his seventh league goal of the season in all competitions, but it was former Nigerian international Victor Moses that prevailed in the Europa League clash between Napoli and Spartak Moscow.
Napoli went into the game as the favourites, having played a 2-2 draw against Leicester City at the King Power Stadium in their opening group game.
But despite his brilliant form, Osimhen started the game from the bench as Napoli’s coach Luciano Spalletti handed starts to some of his fringe players.
The changes did not affect the team, though, as they got off to a perfect start, courtesy of a strike from Eljif Elmas in the first minute.
However, things took a wrong turn for the home side when Marco Rui was sent off in the 30th minute following a VAR review.
But despite the man advantage, Spartak, who had Moses in their team, could not find the back of the net in the opening half.
Although he did not score or provide an assist, Moses was one of the Russian side’s best players on the day, creating one big chance and also winning nine duels.
The second half kicked off with Osimhen coming on for Andera Petagna, but it was Spartak that drew level through Quincy Promes’ strike in the 55th minute.
And in the 80th minute, Mikhail Ignatov put the Red-and-Whites ahead to silence the fans inside the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium.
But there was to be more drama as Maximiliano Caufriez was sent off for a second bookable offence. But the dismissal did not matter as Promes scored his second in the 90th minute to double Spartak’s advantage.
Nonetheless, Napoli did not give up, and they pulled one back in the fourth minute of added time through Osimhen.
The Nigerian international tapped home from Giovanni Di Lorenzo’s low cross to set up a nervy finish. It was Osimhen’s seventh goal in his last five games for the Neapolitans.
But despite his best efforts, Napoli could not come up with an equaliser, which meant Spartak returned to Russia with the three points.