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24 April 2024

Napoli reaches the quarter-finals of the Champions League for the first time in its history


Napoli beat Eintracht Frankfurt 3-0 on Wednesday to reach the Champions League quarterfinals for the first time in its history — and making it three Italian teams in the final eight.

Victor Osimhen continued his fine scoring record with a goal in each half and Piotr Zieliński converted a penalty in the second half as Napoli advanced 5-0 on aggregate.

Osimhen took his tally to 23 goals this season.

“It’s amazing to make history with this win, I’m happy to score two goals,” the Nigeria international said. “We want to keep on going like this, it’s beautiful to advance in this competition.

“I think I did a great game. The whole team did a great match against a very good team. We want to go on like this.”

It is the first time since 2006 that three Italian teams have progressed to the quarterfinals of Europe’s premier club competition.

But Osimhen believes Napoli could stun everyone and go all the way.

“We keep on dreaming, we have the squad to do so,” he said when asked if Napoli could win the Champions League.

“We are on the right path, with a great coach. We’ll see what the future holds for us, I think we have a good chance.”

There are no further restrictions on teams from the same country facing each other so Napoli could be pitted against Inter Milan or AC Milan when the draw is made on Friday. The other teams in the final eight are Bayern Munich, Benfica, Chelsea, Manchester City and Real Madrid.

Napoli was brimming with confidence heading into the match at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona as it had a 2-0 lead from the first leg in Germany and appears to be a lock for the Serie A title.

There was trouble in Naples during the day as around 600 Frankfurt fans descended on the city, despite not being allowed into the match, but there didn’t appear to be any more incidents at the stadium.

Napoli pressed hard for the goal that would all but seal its place in the quarterfinals and Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, who has been a revelation this season, had a couple of chances in the first half but Frankfurt goalkeeper Kevin Trapp kept his team in the match.

The deadlock was broken in first-half stoppage time when Stanislav Lobotka gathered a loose ball and sent it through to Matteo Politano, who whipped in a cross from the right for a towering header by Osimhen.

Osimhen — who also scored in the first leg — doubled his tally on the night, eight minutes after the break, as he tapped in a cross from Giovanni Di Lorenzo, following good work by Kvaratskhelia in the buildup.

And Napoli was out of sight in the 64th when Zieliński was tripped by Djibril Sow and the midfielder dusted himself down to drill the resulting penalty down the middle.