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regular-article-logo Monday, 26 February 2024

Diego Simeone's son treads father’s path

Giovanni Simeone scores twice to beat Rangers, gets into an elite club whose sole member was Diego Simeone till now

AP/PTI, Reuters Naples Published 28.10.22, 03:43 AM
Glen Kamara of Rangers looks on as Giovanni Simeone (blue shirt) scores Napoli’s second goal in Naples on Wednesday.

Glen Kamara of Rangers looks on as Giovanni Simeone (blue shirt) scores Napoli’s second goal in Naples on Wednesday. Getty Images

Like father, like son. Giovanni Simeone scored two goals as Napoli beat Rangers 3-0 in the Champions League for a club record 12th consecutive victory in all competitions. The only other Argentine player to score four goals in his first four matches in the Champions League was Diego Simeone — Giovanni’s father who now manages Atletico Madrid.

“I didn’t know that. It runs in the family then,” Giovanni Simeone said with a laugh when told about the stat.

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“I always look to give everything. Today (Wednesday) I played really well ... (Napoli coach Luciano Spalletti) gave me freedom, he gave me freedom to play how I like, attack the spaces.”

Napoli, who had already qualified for the last 16, remained top of Group A. They are also top of Serie A and coach Luciano Spalletti decided to rotate his squad — resting the in-form Khvicha Kvaratskhelia.

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 across into the bottom left corner.

Simeone doubled his tally five minutes later with a diving header to meet Mario Rui’s cross from the left.

Tanguy Ndombele also hit the crossbar in a dominant first half for Napoli.

Napoli did get a third, 10 minutes from time, when Leo Ostigard headed in a corner to mark his Champions League debut with a goal. It was the team’s 20th goal in five Champions League matches, more than any other side in this season’s competition. Napoli coach Spalletti praised his team.

“The extraordinary thing is when you don’t use a player for two games he gets a bit irritated and loses a bit of sharpness but this group do not do that. They train like top players and confirm they want to fight for their place.

“The first half was wonderful, the ball was moving around so smoothly, everyone was looking for the space to play in and Simeone almost didn’t have a role he was so mobile. It becomes very difficult in those circumstances for the opponents to organise themselves.”

Spalletti said he expected an exciting final match against Liverpool despite both teams already qualifying for the last16.

“There is a lot at stake at Anfield.” he added.

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