Victor Osimhen: First Serie A hat-trick leaves Nigerian striker hungry for more

Victor Osimhen’s hat-trick against Sassuolo took him to seven goals in eight Serie A appearances this season

Nigeria international Victor Osimhen will hope to continue his goalscoring form after netting a hat-trick for Napoli in the 4-0 win over Sassuolo in Serie A.

He scored twice in the opening 19 minutes and pared his 13 minutes on time to score seven league goals this season – and hand him a share of top spot in the Golden Boot race with Austrian Marko Arnautovic.

“It was my first professional hat-trick so I’m really excited,” Osimhen told BBC Sport Africa.

“It was a great comeback after some challenges at the start of the season and I hope I can continue on this form.

“As a striker you always want to help your team, so I want to stay on my toes.”

Osimhen has spent more than a month with a hamstring injury but has scored six goals in his last four outings in all competitions since his return.

He became the fifth African to score a hat-trick in Italian Serie A after Liberian George Weah (for AC Milan in 1998), Cameroonian Patrick Mboma (Cagliari in 1999), Egyptian Mohamed Salah (AS Roma in 2016) and the Senegalese Keita Balde (Lazio in 2017).

Former Wolfsburg and Charleroi Osimhen striker left Lille for Italy two years ago and, after two ‘learning seasons’, the Super Eagles star is leading the way in Napoli’s hunt for a first league title in 33 years.

“Nobody knows everything. I keep growing and learning,” he added.

Napoli are back in action on Tuesday, when they travel to Liverpool for their final Champions League Group A fixture (20:00 GMT). Both teams are already guaranteed a place in the round of 16.

Breaking Maradona’s records

With Osimhen in clinical form, Luciano Spalletti’s Naples have built a five-point lead atop Serie A after 12 rounds.

The club’s current run of 13 straight wins in all competitions has surpassed the previous record of 11 set by Diego Maradona’s side in 1986-87, the season in which the Argentine legend led Napoli to their first-ever title of champion.

“I would like to congratulate all my teammates. They are the best players and the whole team is blessed with quality,” said Osimhen. the club’s website.external link

“I also want to thank the coach for the trust he has shown in me and I want that to continue, both individually and collectively.

“Every time I score I dedicate my goal to my daughter. This hat-trick is for her.”

In June, Osimhen scored four goals for Nigeria minnows beat Sao Tome and Principe 10-0 in qualifying for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations.

Winner of the Under-17 World Cup with the West Africans in 2015, he is the top scorer in qualifying for the 2023 Nations Cup, with five goals.

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