Like father, like son. Giovanni Simeone scored twice as Napoli defeated Rangers 3-0 in the Champions League to celebrate their 12th straight win in all competitions.
The only other Argentine player to score four goals in his first four Champions League games was Diego Simeone – Giovanni’s father, who now manages Atletico Madrid. “I did not know that. So it runs in the family,” said Giovanni Simeone with a laugh when he heard about the statistics.
“I always try to give everything. Today I played really well… (Napoli coach Luciano Spalletti) gave me freedom, he gave me freedom to play the way I like, to attack the spaces.” Napoli, who had already qualified for the round of 16 , remained top of Group A. They were three points clear of Liverpool, who also progressed to the knockout stages with a 3-0 win at Ajax.
Liverpool host Napoli in a game next week to determine the group winners. Liverpool would only finish ahead of Napoli if they win by four clear goals. Napoli are also at the top of Serie A and manager Luciano Spalletti has decided to change his squad – and rest Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, who has been a revelation this season.
It made little difference and Napoli took the lead in the 11th minute when Simeone controlled Giovanni Di Lorenzo’s ball over the top and fired into the bottom left corner. Simeone doubled his tally five minutes later with a header that found Mário Rui’s cross from the left. Tanguy Ndombélé also hit the bar in a dominant first half for Napoli.
Napoli scored a third goal with 10 minutes remaining when Leo Østigård headed into a corner to mark his Champions League debut with a goal.