Napoli coach Walter Mazzarri reveals exactly why Osimhen did not start 4-2 defeat to Real MadridPublished: November 30, 2023
Napoli coach Walter Mazzarri has explained why Victor Osimhen was not handed a starting berth in his side's 4-2 loss to Real Madrid in a Champions League clash at the Santiago Bernabéu on Wednesday night.
Much of the pre-match talk centered on whether the Nigeria international was going to be named in the starting lineup.
Mazzarri opted to start Giovanni Simeone in the central striking role flanked by Khvicha Kvaratskhelia and Matteo Politano.
Osimhen started on the bench and came on at halftime with the Italian champions in search of an equalizer.
Before the trip to the Spanish capital, the Nigeria international was lacking match fitness as he had logged only 26 minutes after recovering from a hamstring injury that kept him sidelined for six weeks.
Mazzarri explained that Osimhen was not named in the starting lineup based on the advice of Napoli's medical team.
In quotes relayed by Napoli's official website, he said: "Osimhen didn’t have much playing time in him. We agreed with the doctors that he could play half an hour.
"We decided to play him for a full half so he could get recover for the match against Inter.
"We didn’t want to force it because he’s coming back from injury and he’s got to get back to top condition gradually."
Napoli's defeat to Los Blancos means they must wait until matchday six to confirm their spot in the last sixteen of the Champions League when they face Sporting de Braga.
Rodrygo, Jude Bellingham, Nico Paz and Joselu were on target for Real Madrid, while Giovanni Simeone and Frank Anguissa found the net for the visitors.
Photo Credit: uefa.com
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