Nigeria striker Victor Osimhen put his social media storm with Napoli to one side to score as they returned to winning ways with a 4-1 victory over Udinese on Wednesday.
Last season’s Scudetto winners entered this fixture after a three-match winless run in Serie A, which had turned up the heat on new coach Rudi Garcia.
Osimhen’s missed penalty kick in last weekend’s stalemate at Bologna was then followed by a bizarre post on Napoli’s official TikTok account.
The video was said to have appeared to mock the Nigeria international, with the forward threatening to take legal action late Tuesday.
However, Osimhen brushed off the scrutiny to end his four-game goal drought with a smart finish in the 39th minute in Naples to fire the hosts up to seventh in the table.
After the penalty kick drama of Sunday, it took Napoli only a quarter of an hour to be awarded another penalty kick when Khvicha Kvaratskhelia was fouled inside the area.
Video assistant review (VAR) was called, and eventually, the penalty was awarded, but instead of Osimhen, Piotr Zielinski took responsibility. He rolled the ball into the bottom corner after 19 minutes to make it 1-0 at Stadio Diego Armando Maradona.
Garcia’s out-of-form side were firmly in the ascendancy now, with Kvaratskhelia, Osimhen and Mario Rui forcing saves from Marco Silvestri in the Udinese goal.
Silvestri had no answer to Osimhen in the 39th minute when Matteo Politano slipped through last season’s leading marksman, who drilled into the net for his fourth goal this season.
Osimhen was initially reluctant to celebrate.
But after some anxious glances towards the assistant referee, no offside flag was raised, and he embraced his teammates while feeling the support of a raucous home crowd.
Further applause followed in the 63rd minute when Osimhen was replaced by Giovanni Simeone, who would find the net but not before Kvaratskhelia.
Georgian attacker Kvaratskhelia had endured a difficult start to the season and would have been grateful for the gift from away defender Jaka Bijol.
A poor touch by Bijol allowed Kvaratskhelia to steal in and win possession before he beat Silvestri to the loose ball.
He was able to open his account for the season from close range in the 74th minute.
Lazar Samardzic reduced the deficit in the 80th minute, but seconds later, Kvaratskhelia turned provider again when his excellent run and cross found Simeone.
Simeone headed low into the net to wrap up the scoring on a much-needed positive night for the champions.