Victor Osimhen made his long-awaited return from Covid-19 and injury problems but was powerless to prevent Napoli from falling to a 3-1 defeat at Verona in Serie A on Sunday.
The 22-year-old Nigerian international has not played since injuring his shoulder on international duty and having his comeback derailed by twice testing positive for Covid-19 in December.
He was named on the bench for Napoli’s trip to the Marc Antonio Bentegodi Stadium and was introduced in the 65th minute for Andrea Petagna with his side 2-1 down.
Hirving Lozano had put Napoli in front in just seconds into the match but the hosts hit back in the 34th minute as Federico Dimarco atoned for his mistake that led to the visitors’ opener.
Antonin Barak made it 2-1 in favour of the hosts in the 62nd minute and Gennaro Gattuso threw Osimhen on two minutes later as he looked to salvage the game.
The club and African record signing had little impact on proceeding, however, and the hosts made sure of victory when Mattia Zacagni scored a third in the 79th minute.
Osimhen’s first season at Napoli has barely gone to plan with the striker struggling to justify his record price tag in a stop-start campaign that has seen him score just two goals in seven league appearances since joining from Lille in the summer.
The defeat comes on the back of the loss to Juventus in the Super Cup and leaves Napoli in 6th place, two points off the Champions League places.
Verona, meanwhile, are up to 9th in the table with 30 points.