Napoli have won their first Scudetto since 1990 after Victor Osimhen’s second-half goal secured a 1-1 draw at Udinese on Thursday night.
They came within six minutes of securing the title on Sunday, but drew with Salernitana, meaning that Lazio had a mathematical chance to overtake the runaway leaders. That chance has now disappeared, with Napoli’s lead now at 16 points with just five games remaining in the season.
Sandi Lovrić’s clinical finish from inside the penalty area on 13 minutes rocked Luciano Spalletti’s side, who struggled to create chances at the other end, although Osimhen threatened with a couple of first-half headers.
But when the Nigeria striker pounced 12 minutes after half-time, calmly side-footing in a rebound, it sparked celebrations among thousands of travelling Napoli supporters.
“I’m happy for all Napoli fans worldwide,” Osimhen said. “No one deserves the Scudetto more than Neapolitans — more than us. I don’t care who scored, I just wanted to get the Scudetto.”
“I want to enjoy this moment for the rest of my life. Then after the season my other dreams can come,” Osimhen continued. “But for now it’s not a time to talk about my other dreams. I wanted to win this.”
“Napoli, this is for you,” coach Spalletti said. ”There are people here who will be able to get through difficult moments in their lives because they remember this moment. These people deserve all the joy.”
It’s the first time a club south of Italy’s traditional soccer capitals of Milan and Turin has won the league since Roma claimed the title in 2001.
More than 50,000 supporters met at Diego Armando Maradona Stadium in Naples, where the match was shown on big screens. “Today must be the right day,” said fan Raffaele Manfredonia. Kevin, another supporter who declined to give his surname, said of the expected Scudetto party: “It will be chaos, mayhem. We won’t sleep, we won’t work.” But then he added, with a chuckle: “I am joking”.
“You always told me, ‘We want to win,’ and now we’ve won. We’ve won all together,” the Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis told the crowd before he embraced the Naples Mayor Gaetano Manfredi.
De Laurentiis took over the club in 2004 when Napoli was declared bankrupt, restarting in the third division.
“This is the coronation of a dream that’s been going on for 33 years,” De Laurentiis added. “It’s been a long process.”
The US consulate issued a security alert last week, saying “spontaneous celebrations could last multiple days” and warned of “heavy traffic or road closures, significant use fireworks, and alcohol consumption throughout the city”.
Police had banned fireworks but that did not stop the Neapolitan sky being lit up as soon as the Udinese game was over. Authorities also banned car and scooter traffic from the city centre in the hope of minimising risk to public order.
Napoli have led the table for most of the season, producing the best and most entertaining football by some distance, spearheaded by Osimhen and the Georgia winger Khvicha Kvaratskhelia. They have lost three league games all season.
They also looked on course to go far in the Champions League before a surprise 2-1 aggregate defeat against Milan at the quarter-final stage.