Napoli honour Maradona as Italians claim 2-0 victory over Rijeka

Napoli light up their San Paolo Stadium to honour Diego Maradona as thousands of fans gather outside the ground to pay their respects as Serie A side claim 2-0 Europa League victory over Rijeka

  • Napoli paid tribute to Diego Maradona during their Europa League tie with Rijeka
  • The Serie A side beat the Croatian team 2-0 which puts them top of Group F 
  • The Italians lit up their stadium and his image remained on the scoreboard
  • Thousands of fans also gathered outside the ground to pay their respects
  • There was a minute’s silence followed by applause before kick-off in Naples 
  • Maradona’s best years came playing for Napoli between 1984 and 1991
  • He steered club to two league titles as well as the UEFA Cup in 1989

Napoli paid their respects to club legend Diego Maradona by lighting up their San Paolo Stadium as the Serie A side claimed a 2-0 win over Rijeka. 

Maradona died on Wednesday at the age of 60 after suffering a cardiac arrest at his home, just two weeks after undergoing surgery for a blood clot on his brain.

An own goal from Armando Anastasio and second half strike from Hirving Lozano gave the Italians victory but the real focus of the night was the tribute to Maradona as thousands of fans gathered outside the ground to pay their respects. 

Napoli lit up their San Paolo Stadium to honour Diego Maradona following his death on Wednesday

Thousands of fans have gathered outside the ground to pay their respects to the Argentine

Candles were lit outside the ground as supporters honoured their football hero

The Italians beat the Croatian side 2-0 which puts them top of their Europa League group

Hirving Lozano scored the second goal and pointed to the sky as he dedicated the strike to Maradona

The Argentine’s best years came playing for the Serie A side between 1984 and 1991 and led the club to unprecedented success, including two league titles and the UEFA Cup in 1989.    

Supporters stood outside the stadium before, during and after the game chanting ‘Diego, Diego and other anthems to celebrate the life of their hero.  A number of scarves, messages and banners were also been hung up on the railings.

Every Napoli player wore No 10 shirts with Maradona on the back ahead of kick-off as both teams observed a minute’s silence which was followed by applause. An image of the Argentine will also remain on the scoreboard for the entire game. 

Every Napoli player wore the No 10 shirt with Maradona on the back before kick-off

Napoli’s starting XI hold up a Maradona 10 shirt before kick-off to honour the Argentine

Once the game was underway, Napoli dominated possession and created several chances before Rijeka’s ful back Anastasio, under pressure from Matteo Politano, turned Piotr Zielinski’s shot into his own net in the 42nd minute.   

Lozano came off the bench to add a second in the 75th minute, controlling Lorenzo Insigne’s pass before slotting the ball past Ivan Nevistic.

The Italians are now top of Group F with nine points from four games, two ahead of AZ Alkmaar and Real Sociedad. 

Due to on-going Covid-19 restrictions, fans were not permitted inside the ground but captain Insinge came outside to lay a bouquet of flowers next to the supporters’ tributes.

‘He always defended us, both when he played here and after he left,” said Insigne, who is from Naples. 

‘He always carried us in his heart. And now we need to carry him in our hearts since he’s gone. It hurts. It’s a sad day for us Neapolitans.’

Napoli captain Lorenzo Insigne laid a bouquet of flowers alongside supporters’ tributes

Scarves, photos and messages have also been left on the railings outside the ground

‘The entire squad and club lends its support to the family,” Insigne added. “He was the greatest player ever and we’re honored that he wore Napoli’s shirt and played in this stadium.’ 

Napoli’s president Aurelio de Laurentiis confirmed the club are considering re-naming their stadium after Maradona.

‘We can consider the idea of calling our stadium San Paolo-Diego Armando Maradona,’ he told told French sports channel RMC Sport.

The move was backed by Naples mayor Luigi de Magistris who said on Twitter: ‘We will name the Stadio San Paolo in honour of Diego Armando Maradona!” the official stated on his official Twitter account on Wednesday.’ 

Maradona’s image remained on the screens throughout the game as part of another tribute

Maradona led Napoli to two league titles between 1984 and 1991 as well as the UEFA Cup

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