Dries Mertens scored two magnificent goals on the day Napoli remembered Diego Armando Maradona and tore Maurizio Sarri’s Lazio apart to go clear at the top of the table.
It was a very special night at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona, as a year on from his death, a life-size statue of the iconic player was unveiled in this arena. Maurizio Sarri also returned for the first time since it was renamed, his Lazio missing Adam Marusic. Victor Osimhen was ruled out for three months by multiple facial fractures, with Andre Frank Zambo Anguissa and Adam Ounas injured, plus Matteo Politano with COVID.
It was the perfect start for the hosts, as Danilo Cataldi failed to clear a Hirving Lozano pass, so Piotr Zielinski absolutely smashed home the rebound with ferocity.
Moments later it was 2-0 with a goal created in the kind of style that typified Sarri’s Napoli. Fabian Ruiz floated a ball over the top, Insigne laid it off for Mertens, who with a dummy sent his defender to ground and curled into the far top corner from 12 yards.
Ciro Immobile tested David Ospina at the near post with an angled drive, while Pepe Reina was ready for Lozano at the back post on a trademark Insigne pass.
Ospina flew for a sensational one-handed save to deny Luis Alberto a stunning volley from the edge of the box. On the resulting corner, Francesco Acerbi’s free header bounced off the crossbar.
Instead, Napoli made it 3-0 as Lozano laid it off to the edge of the area, where Mertens swung the right boot first time to loop it over Reina into the far top corner. It was simply unstoppable.
Elseid Hysaj charged down a Lozano volley on Mertens assist, while Reina flew to palm away the Mario Rui curler, but Napoli had done everything they needed to and largely just controlled the second half.
There was another twist to come, as Fabian Ruiz unleashed a ferocious left-foot strike from outside the area that bent into the far bottom corner past Reina’s fingertips.
Napoli 4-0 Lazio
Zielinski 7 (N), Mertens 10, 29 (N), Fabian Ruiz 85 (N)