STADIO OLIMPICO (Rome): Another inspired performance from Georgian sensation Khvicha Kvaratskhelia helped Napoli come from behind to beat Lazio 2-1 at the Stadio Olimpico and provisionally move top of Serie A after Matchday 5.
Mattia Zaccagni put the hosts in front after four minutes, but the visitors soon took control, levelling through Kim Min-Jae before Kvaratskhelia struck the winner after the break.
The 21-year-old has taken Serie A by storm, scoring four goals in his first five appearances, and he was unfortunate not to net more than one in Rome after striking the post and having another effort well saved by in-form Lazio goalkeeper Ivan Provedel.
It was a welcome return to form for Luciano Spalletti’s side following back-to-back draws against Fiorentina and Lecce, and moved them level with AC Milan on 11 points at the summit of the table. Milan beat Inter 3-2 in a thrilling Milan Derby earlier on Saturday.
Lazio started well against Napoli
The hosts got off to a dream start when Felipe Anderson picked out Zaccagni at the edge of the box and the winger arrowed a well-placed shot into the bottom corner.
Lazio’s early lead gave them confidence as they settled into a rhythm of soaking up Napoli pressure and looking to launch counter-attacks, and the visitors struggled to convert possession into chances.
They eventually found two openings towards the end of the half through Kvaratskhelia, who robbed the ball off Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and had a shot saved before spinning infield and hammering a shot off the foot of the post.
Provedel impressed for Lazio, but Napoli forced their way through
Napoli’s pressure eventually told when Kim’s header from a corner appeared to be clawed off the line by Provedel, only for goal-line technology to show that it had edged over.
There were concerning scenes at the end of the half when a nasty clash of heads left Hirving Lozano requiring a medical cart to be stretchered off.
Napoli picked up where they left off with a flurry of chances early in the second half; Provedel produced excellent saves to deny Kvaratskhelia and Piotr Zielinski, and Osimhen headed off the post.
Provedel was again called into action to save from Osimhen, but Kvaratskhelia, who appeared determined to get a goal all night, finally beat the Lazio keeper on the 61st minute by hammering a shot down the middle from 12 yards.
The Stadio Olimpico screamed for a penalty when Mario Rui raised an elbow in Manuel Lazzari’s face as the right-back charged into the box, but referee Simone Sozza was uninterested.
Lazio improved after a re-jigging of the midfield by coach Maurizio Sarri, and threatened when Alex Meret flew to push away an Anderson header and substitute Pedro drove a daisy-cutter just wide.