While the imposing sight of Mount Vesuvius dominates the skyline of Naples, it was the city’s people that caused a tremor the size of an earthquake on the final weekend of April, and probably had a few Neapolitan residents fearing that the volcano had erupted for the first time since 1944.
Napoli fans are not having to wait as long to revel in another Serie A triumph – the last came in 1989/90 – and it was their expectant cries of celebration on Sunday afternoon that had seismologists questioning how their monitors had identified earthquake-like numbers without seismic shift underfoot.
Fans at Fuorigrotta cause a stir
With Napoli vs Salernitana having been moved from Saturday to Sunday as late as Friday, the Partenopei looked destined to clinch the 2022/23 scudetto against the Granata at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona, after Inter had defeated closest rivals Lazio just before the game, leaving Napoli able to secure the Serie A title with a win.
Even before the Nerazzurri had completed their part in the plan to see Napoli crowned inside their own stadium, a capacity crowd inside meant that the streets of the Fuorigrotta area, in which the arena resides, were filling with supporters desperate to be as close to the action as possible, with or without a ticket.
Therefore, when Mathias Olivera headed the champions-elect in front on 62 minutes, fans both inside and outside of the stadium generated a roar and tremors the size of a low-intensity earthquake, that Corriere dello Sport confirmed the Department of Structures for Engineering and Architecture at the University of Naples Federico II had recorded as 2.0 on the Richter scale.
Udine poised for second Neapolitan earthquake
Despite their attempts to win the title in Naples, the Neapolitan party was temporarily delayed when Boulaye Dia scored an 84th-minute equaliser for the visitors and expectation moves to Matchday 33, when Udinese host Napoli in Italy’s far northeast.
Whether the Partenopei travel in significant numbers to cause a similar tremor around the Dacia Arena remains to be seen, but the streets of Naples will be full once more. However, with the Zebrette facing the Partenopei on Thursday night, the scudetto could have already been secured if Lazio fail to beat Sassuolo 24 hours earlier, and coach Luciano Spalletti and his players will head north as champions.