Sports, Football

Napoli honour Maradona by crushing Lazio

Published : 29 Nov 2021 08:29 PM

Dazzling Napoli paid the perfect tribute to Diego Maradona Sunday by thumping Lazio 4-0 to move three points clear at the top of Serie A.

Fifa president Gianni Infantino was among those present in Naples as the southern Italian city honored one of its adopted sons, who led Napoli to their only two league titles and the 1989 Uefa Cup and died a year ago Thursday.

Fans chanted Maradona's name as a statue, which depicts their idol in full flight atop the No 10, was carried around the pitch.

A tribute from Pele was shown on the stadium's big screens, while players came out for their pre-match warm-up to the sound of "Life Is Life" by Opus, the song to which Maradona does keepie-uppies in one of the most beloved pieces of footage of the Argentine in his pomp.

Inspired by the emotional ceremony, Napoli took full advantage of AC Milan crashing to a 3-1 home defeat against Sassuolo to go it alone at the summit with an at times electrifying performance.

Wearing shirts bearing Maradona's face, Luciano Spalletti's table toppers came out like a team possessed and blew Lazio away with three fantastic first-half goals.

In almost perfect harmony with the occasion it was another adopted Neapolitan in Dries Mertens who led the charge, the Belgian nicknamed "Ciro" scoring a brilliant brace of which Maradona himself would have been proud.