Dries Mertens joins Diego Maradona as Napoli close in on Champions League
Carlo Ancelotti’s side are almost unreachable in second place thanks to Mertens’ smart 19th-minute free-kick -- which made the Belgian Napoli’s third-highest ever scorer with 81 goals.Updated: Apr 28, 2019 19:23 IST
Dries Mertens moved level with Diego Maradona in Napoli’s all-time goalscorers chart as he helped them take a big step towards securing Champions League football for next season with a comfortable 2-0 win on Sunday.
Carlo Ancelotti’s side are almost unreachable in second place thanks to Mertens’ smart 19th-minute free-kick -- which made the Belgian Napoli’s third-highest ever scorer with 81 goals -- and Amin Younes’ simple finish three minutes after the break, which also all-but condemned Frosinone to relegation from Serie A.
With four matches remaining Napoli are eight points clear of third-placed Inter Milan, who drew 1-1 with newly-crowned champions Juventus on Saturday, and a full 14 ahead of AC Milan and Atalanta, who sit just outside the Champions League places on 56 points.
The pair have a chance to leapfrog Roma, who took the last spot on Saturday with a comfortable 3-0 home win over Cagliari, and close the gap on Napoli when they take on Torino and Udinese respectively.
Napoli, who are nonetheless 18 points behind Juve and out of Europe after being beaten by Arsenal in the Europa League quarter-finals, have to hope that both Milan and Atalanta fail to win in order to guarantee Champions League football this week, but are far enough ahead that qualification is almost guaranteed.
Frosinone however will be hoping Udinese lose to Atalanta, as a win in Bergamo for the 17th-placed side and Genoa beating SPAL would send them down to Serie B.
First Published: Apr 28, 2019 19:23 IST