A moment of brilliance from star boy Khvicha Kvaratskhelia laid the foundations for Napoli’s Matchday 22 Serie A victory against Cremonese in which the Partenopei had to show that they can win even when they are not able to produce their best football.
The Serie A leaders defeated the bottom-placed team 3-0 thanks largely to their Georgian sensation, who turned 22 on Sunday, while Victor Osimhen added another as he strengthened his credentials to earn the capocannoniere crown.
Despite what the scoreline may hint at, Napoli did not have it easy against a Cremonese who tried to limit the space for Luciano Spalletti’s team to play in, but the southern Italian side were able to count on their dependables up top to lead the way once more.
Kvaratskhelia and Osimhen are unplayable
Napoli had difficulty trying to break down a resolute Cremonese side in the first half that defended well in numbers, and launched quick counter-attacks, but failed to create clear chances to test Partenopei goalkeeper Alex Meret.
Kvaratskhelia opened the scoring with a superb individual effort after beating Grigiorossi wing-back Leonardo Sernicola and then bending a shot around Marco Carnesecchi. He also was involved in the build-up for the third Ciucciarelli goal, which was scored by Elif Elmas, and had shouts for a penalty near the end of the first half.
The 22-year-old now has nine goals and nine assists in his maiden Serie A season while his attacking partner Osimhen has taken his tally to 17 goals for the 2022/23 league campaign.
It has been clear on so many occasions this season that Napoli boast so many players playing at the peak of their powers and they know how to turn things in their favour, even when there are challenging moments. That was again the case against Cremonese.
Cremonese’s 27-year wait for a Serie A win
One of the shocks of the 2022/23 season was achieved in the Coppa Italia when Cremonese won 5-4 on penalties after a 2-2 draw against Napoli in the Round of 16. However, the Grigiorossi faced a Partenopei squad that featured just one regular starter in Meret.
The club from the Lombardy region still have not registered a league win this season, and last time Cremonese won in Serie A was on 24 March 1996, when they defeated Lazio 2-1.
Coach Davide Ballardini is renowned for guiding teams to safety, and although he has achieved victories in the cup, he needs to earn league wins fast if the Grigiorossi are to produce a miraculous survival.