SSC Napoli of Italy striker, Victor Osimhen stirred controversy on Saturday, as he unfolded a placard I support of ongoing ‘Ends SARS’ protests rocking Nigeria, thereby leaving observers worried that he might have run afoul of non-political rules of the Italian Serie A, megasportsarena.com reports.
Various talking points were left loose, after Osimhen took a controversial angle in celebrating his first goal in the Italian Serie A, which came during his side’s 4-1 win against visiting Atalanta, as he dedicated his stunner in support of ongoing protests against Nigeria’s notorious Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
In the wake of the encounter at Sao Paolo Stadium in Naples, Italy, Osimhen admitted he was thrilled to eventually got his first goal in the Italian top-flight, as he got one of his side’s quickfire burst of goals that earned them victory at home on Saturday.
Despite enthusiasm with which he decided to lend support to ‘End SARS,’ the well-celebrated striker, who was always in the match highlights throughout his stay on the pitch during Saturday’s game, might have caught the wrong eye of football rules in Italy, after he went political by unfolding an inscription in support of the protests back home in Nigeria.
Against all pre-match forecast, the game appeared to go easier than thought for Osimhen’s side, as they were already four-up before half time, with the Super Eagles’ rookie getting involved in all of the goals and eventually hit the bull’s eye in the 43rd minute of play.
The youngster was so ecstatic that he ran all the way to the touchline to hug his coach, Gennaro Gattuso in wild celebration, even as observers noted how much the gaffer kept patience with his prized buy until the lanky lad finally broke the ice, notching home in style what became his first sizzler in the Italian Peninsula.
Osimhen went on to get 82 minutes of action before getting replaced, few seconds after he escaped what could have been a deadly shin injury, following a toe-pocking tackle from an Atalanta player, as the visitors tried to mark the Chile 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup top scorer out.
Those spirited, almost desperate attempts to keep Osimhen in check accounted for several lapses in defence by the visitors, whose recent burst of top form and good results were belied by their laxities, especially through the first half.
Osimhen eventually notched his first goal in competitive Italian football, and went off to a roaring round of applause and superlative words in his favour from match commentators, who tagged his performance an outstanding display by a lad who is fast-turning to be a dangerous all-rounder – good in the air, fast on the break, solid with decoy runs and brilliant with his passes.
It was a moment of breathtaking brilliance, in which Osimhen made the best of sheer sped to get ahead of his markers and hit target, as he went bursting loose after chesting down Napoli goalkeeper, David Ospina’s long ball upfield, then turned and drilled low into the bottom corner for his first bull’s eye hit in three league games.
Indeed, before netting his first sizzler in the high-profile Italian top-flight league, Osimhen again played the part of a decoy man’ upfront for his team, as he was involved in every single goal they netted, thereby putting an end to worrisome comments by match analysts who wondered when he would break the duck.
Up till the 40th minute of play at San Paolo Stadium in Naples, Osimhen remained without a goal as his side romped home their 13th in just three matches, thereby leaving commentators wondering when Napoli’s costliest signing ever would finally hit target.
However, while raising questions about Osimhen’s much-expected goal to start justifying his huge transfer fee from Lille Metropole of France, commentators were also quick to note that the former VfL Wolfsburg of Germany and Sporting Charleroi of Belgium lad was involved in each of his side’s goals that put them 3-0 up.
First came when a pass meant for Osimhen led to Atalanta’s defenders rushing to mark him out and left space for Hirving Lozano to slot home; after which a similar scenario played out on the second goal, as the Nigerian youngster was bundled over by a swarm of Atalanta players, with the ball rolling lose and Lorenzo netted his second of the evening.
Soon after, another ball that was heading to Osimhen saw him marked out once again, only for Matteo Politano to find space behind him and burst loose to hit the net; few minutes before the much-adored Nigerian lad and haymaker of many dimensions made it four in the 43rd minute.
Osimhen then went dramatic at the end of the game, as he held up a white T-shirt bearing a hand-written inscription that read #EndPoliceBrutalityInNigeria, then posted: “The power of the people is always stronger than the people in power. remember DAT #ReformNigeriaPolice.”