Victor Osimhen scored the first hat-trick of his professional career to be named Serie A Player of the Week for Matchday 12 of the 2022/23 season, as Napoli strengthened their position at the top of the table with an eighth consecutive domestic victory.
The 4-0 win recorded over Sassuolo at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona on Saturday afternoon was the seventh time the Partenopei have scored four or more goals in a game this term, with a Khvicha Kvaratskhelia goal adding to the Nigerian’s treble.
Osimhen on fire
Since returning from injury, the former Lille striker has now scored in three consecutive Serie A matches for the first time since April 2022, as he leads the Neapolitan’s charge for a first Scudetto since 1991.
When the 23-year-old poked home his first goal on three minutes and nine seconds, it became the fastest since another strike in Naples, also against the Neroverdi, by Adam Ounas in October 2018 – recorded at two minutes and five seconds.
15 minutes later, Osimhen was on hand to side-foot a Kvaratskhelia cut-back past Andrea Consigli, to join fellow Napoli frontmen Dries Mertens (2016) and German Denis (2008) who have scored a double in the opening 20 minutes. He then completed his hat-trick with a delicate chip over the Italian goalkeeper on 77 minutes.
While Osimhen rightly took the plaudits in Naples, summer sensation Kvaratskhelia played a significant part in the Partenopei’s comprehensive win, with a goal and two assists bringing his total to 16. Across the five major European leagues this season, of players born this millennium, only Erling Haaland of Manchester City has contributed more.
Although a driving run to the touchline and cutting the ball back for the striker’s second goal was something the Georgian has been doing all season, a delicately flicked header for the first was a little out of character. However, with those, the 21-year-old became the first Napoli player since Lorenzo Insigne to assist twice in the opening 20 minutes of a Serie A match.