Napoli brush Cremonese aside as undefeated streak continues
Napoli stormed to yet another dominant performance on Sunday, beating Cremonese 4-1 to take the lead at the top of Serie A with five straight wins.
Matteo Politano started things off for Napoli this week with a goal from a penalty in the 23rd minute at Giovanni Zini Stadium in Cremona, Italy.
Cremonese leveled the score just after the break, but the visitors quickly piled on. All three late goals came from substitutes, with Giovanni Simeone securing the lead in the 76th minute and both Hirving Lozano and Mathías Olivera scoring in injury time.
Korean center back Kim Min-jae put in another confident performance, playing the full 90 minutes as he continues an impressive debut season in Naples.
With the win, Napoli returned to the top of Serie A after briefly slipping down to second a few hours earlier when Atalanta took a one-point lead following their draw with Udinese.
Napoli are off to a phenomenal start to the 2022-23 season, remaining undefeated across all competitions after 12 games.
Napoli have racked up seven wins and two draws in Serie A so far this season, with both draws coming fairly early on — against Fiorentina on Aug. 28 and Lecce on Aug. 31. The club has also racked up a huge goal difference, scoring 22 goals in nine games and only conceding seven for a goal difference of 15.
In the Champions League, Napoli have looked even more confident. Napoli currently lead Group A with nine points and another impressive goal difference, having beaten Liverpool 4-1, Rangers 3-0 and Ajax 6-1.
Going in to the second leg of Champions League games with a home match against Ajax on Wednesday, Napoli have a three-point lead over second-place Liverpool and plus 11 in the goal difference column.
For 25-year-old Kim, it’s difficult to imagine a better place to start a top-tier European career.
Kim joined Napoli in July from Turkish club Fenerbahce after one year playing in the Super Lig. According to reports, Kim is under contract with Napoli until 2025, with the club retaining the option to extend the deal for two more years. Napoli paid 19.5 million euros ($20 million) to Fenerbahce to trigger Kim’s release clause, and have included a 45-million-euro release clause in his new contract.
Since arriving in Naples, Kim has played the full 90 minutes in 11 of Napoli’s 12 games so far this season across all competitions.
Across all those games, Kim and the Napoli defensive line have only conceded six goals, five in league games and one against Liverpool. Not only has Kim pulled his weight in defense, he has also scored two Serie A goals so far this season, against Monza on Aug. 21 and Lazio on Sept. 3.
That performance has seen Kim earn some accolades of his own, winning the Serie A EA Sports Player of the Month for September and making it into WhoScored.com’s Europe’s Best XI for the same month.
BY JIM BULLEY [firstname.lastname@example.org]