Walter Mazzarri marked his Napoli ‘debut’ with a sensational victory away to Atalanta thanks to Kvicha Kvaratskhelia and Eljif Elmas on an assist from the returning Victor Osimhen.

It had been over a decade since Mazzarri last sat on the Partenopei bench, but he was brought in during the break for international duty to replace sacked Rudi Garcia. Victor Osimhen was still only fit for the bench, with Mario Rui and Jesper Lindstrom out, Alex Meret not at 100 per cent. La Dea had Marten de Roon suspended, Rafael Toloi, Jose Luis Palomino and El Bilal Toure injured.

This was a head-to-head for fourth place with only one point separating them going into the weekend. Mario Pasalic’s header on a free kick was straight at Pierluigi Gollini, then Napoli had the ball in the net on 34 minutes.

A set play was not cleared well, Giacomo Raspadori floated a ball over the top and Amir Rrahmani’s looping header flew into the top corner, but VAR showed he was marginally offside.

Both Davide Zappacosta and Mathias Olivera went off with sprains, the latter stretchered off in tears after slipping and visibly turning his knee.

Napoli did get their goal eventually, as this time Giovanni Di Lorenzo whipped in a cross from the right and Kvicha Kvaratskhelia got in front of Giorgio Scalvini to nod under the bar from six yards.

Atalanta almost equalised within a minute, but Gollini made a great reaction save on the Teun Koopmeiners header at the back post on a Hans Hateboer cross.

Napoli too threatened a second in first half stoppages with a chaotic move sparked by Ederson’s error, as first Marco Carnesecchi rushed off his line to deny Piotr Zielinski, then the Di Lorenzo follow-up was charged down by Scalvini.

Matteo Ruggeri stung Gollini’s gloves at the near post and Atalanta equalised when Hateboer’s cross from the right found an Ademola Lookman towering header into the far bottom corner.

Victor Osimhen made his comeback for the final half-hour, six weeks after suffering a thigh strain on international duty with Nigeria, but did it without his trademark protective mask for the first time since January 2022.

Mario Pasalic had the ball in the net on 68 minutes, but it was disallowed as Teun Koopmeiners was in an offside position before the assist.

Instead, Napoli restored their lead when Carnesecchi’s poor clearance was intercepted, Osimhen could’ve gone for goal, but instead rolled it across for unmarked fellow substitute Eljif Elmas to turn in from six yards at the back post.

Elmas was also decisive at the other end, getting in front of Luis Muriel to protect the ball inside the penalty area.

Atalanta 1-2 Napoli

Kvaratskhelia 44 (N), Lookman 53 (A), Elmas 79 (N)

Player statistic

1st half
    21' Yellow card Natan
Berat Djimsiti Yellow card 27'    
    44' Goal Khvicha Kvaratskhelia
(Assist: Giovanni Di Lorenzo)
2nd half
Ademola Lookman
(Assist: Hans Hateboer)
Goal 53'    
    60' Yellow card Giovanni Di Lorenzo
Sead Kolasinac Yellow card 65'    
    79' Goal Eljif Elmas
(Assist: Victor Osimhen)

Match statistic

44
Possession %
56
14
Total shots
11
5
Shots on target
4
4
Shots off target
2
7
Blocked shots
5
5
Corners
4
4
Offsides
3
15
Fouls
9
ATT
NAP

Starting lineups

29
Goalkeeper
19
Defender
77
33'
42
Defender
20
Defender
46'
23
Defender
76'
13
Midfielder
8
Midfielder
7
Midfielder
11
Attacker
84'
17
84'
95
Goalkeeper
13
Defender
22
17
Defender
39'
3
Defender
78'
99
Midfielder
20
Midfielder
78'
68
Midfielder
81
63'
77
21
Attacker
63'

Substitutes

1
Goalkeeper
31
Goalkeeper
59
Midfielder
21
Defender
25
Midfielder
3
Defender
33
Defender
33'
22
Defender
46'
43
76'
9
Attacker
84'
90
84'
4
Midfielder
1
Goalkeeper
70
Midfielder
14
Goalkeeper
59
18
Attacker
23
Attacker
5
Defender
39'
9
Attacker
63'
7
Midfielder
63'
55
Defender
78'
24
Midfielder
78'

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