Osimhen scores late, Napoli beats Roma for 11th straight win

ROME (AP) — José Mourinho’s physical Roma squad came closer than most teams have to keeping high-scoring Napoli out of the net.

In the end, though, Napoli’s vast array of talented forwards again proved too much to handle.

Victor Osimhen scored 10 minutes from time and Serie A leader Napoli won 1-0 at the Stadio Olimpico on Sunday to match a club record with its 11th consecutive victory across all competitions.

And what a goal it was.

Osimhen collected a ball over the top, muscled his way past Roma’s imposing center back Chris Smalling and unleashed a low shot into the far side of the net from an almost impossible angle on the right flank.

“Roma gave us a tough time but we showed that Napoli is tough to beat,” Osimhen said.

Napoli again moved three points clear of defending champion AC Milan, which beat Silvio Berlusconi’s Monza on Saturday. Roma remained fifth.

Roma didn’t produce a single shot on goal.

“I feel a sense of injustice and embrace my players, because they did everything possible and I think they did enough to avoid defeat,” Mourinho said. “We knew whoever got a goal would win, and it was Napoli.”

The only other time Napoli won 11 straight came in 1986 when Diego Maradona was playing for the club. Maradona, who died in 2020, went on to lead Napoli to its only two Serie A titles in 1987 and 1990.

Napoli has won seven straight in Serie A with four victories in the Champions League — qualifying for the knockout stage with two matches to spare with lopsided wins over Liverpool, Rangers and Ajax.

Napoli embarrassed Liverpool 4-1 and scored 10 over two matches with Ajax.

It was a sweet win for Napoli coach Luciano Spalletti, who managed Roma on two different occasions. He infamously became a target of fans’ ire for his treatment of Francesco Totti as the club icon eased into retirement during his second spell in the capital.

Spalletti has made all the right moves with Napoli this season. Giacomo Raspadori and Giovanni Simeone filled in well for Osimhen when the Nigeria forward was injured recently, and both have also provided goals off the bench. But Spalletti kept Osimhen on until the end and was rewarded with his choice.

Napoli also had a potential first-half goal from Tanguy Ndombele waved off by VAR. The referee initially appeared to whistle a foul for Roma goalkeeper Rui Patrício but replays showed that the ’keeper got his hand on the ball before making contact with Ndombele.

Mourinho appealed for a yellow card for Ndombele, accusing the France midfielder of diving.

Mourinho kept up his commentary on the touchline and was shown a yellow card for dissent early in the second half as Napoli began pouring forward more often.

ATALANTA AND UDINESE BEATEN

Atalanta and Udinese, two provincial clubs that had impressed early in the season, both lost at home.

Atalanta’s unbeaten start ended with a 2-0 defeat to surging Lazio while Udinese was beaten 2-1 by Torino for its first league loss since the opening day.

Mattia Zaccagni and Felipe Anderson scored for Lazio at the start of each half, respectively, as the Roman club didn’t miss injured center forward Ciro Immobile.

It was Lazio’s sixth straight clean sheet and the victory moved Lazio ahead of Atalanta into third place, although level on points with the Bergamo club.

Atalanta striker Luis Muriel picked up his second yellow card in the 90th.

Goals from Ola Aina and Pietro Pellegri helped Torino earn its first league win in more than a month.

It was Udinese’s first league defeat since a 4-2 loss at defending champion AC Milan on Aug. 13. It won six straight matches but had drawn its last two in Serie A — against Atalanta and Lazio.

Udinese, which was also eliminated from the Italian Cup by Monza in midweek, remained sixth.

Torino moved up to ninth.

Also, Thiago Motta earned his first Serie A win as Bologna coach as his team beat fellow struggler Lecce 2-0.

Bologna had lost three of Motta’s four league matches in charge, drawing the other one.

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Associated Press writer Daniella Matar in Milan contributed.

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