April 19, 2024

Napoli won their first Italian Serie A title in 33 years, clinching the Scudetto on Thursday with a 1-1 draw at Udinese.

Needing only a draw to take an unassailable 16-point lead with five games remaining, Serie A’s top scorer, Victor Osimhen, equalised for Napoli in the 52nd minute to spark wild celebrations throughout Naples, inside the stadium in Udine and beyond.

The title is Napoli’s third in Italy’s top division and first since legendary Argentine Diego Maradona led them to championships in 1987 and 1990. Napoli’s home stadium was renamed in Maradona’s honour following his death in November 2020.

Napoli could have sealed the title at home on Sunday but conceded a late equaliser to Salernitana to extend the wait four more days. But they went into Thursday’s game knowing a point would be enough even after nearest challengers Lazio beat Sassuolo a day earlier.

Besides the 11,000 Napoli fans inside and 5,000 more outside the stadium in Udine in northern Italy, a capacity crowd of more than 50,000 watched the match on jumbo screens at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona in Naples.

In Udine, celebrating fans invaded the field at the final whistle, while in Naples there were fireworks and delirium.

“You always told me, ‘We want to win,’ and now we’ve won. We’ve won all together,” Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis told the crowd at the Naples stadium before he embraced Naples Mayor Gaetano Manfredi.

De Laurentiis took over the club in 2004 when Napoli was declared bankrupt, restarting in the third division.

“This is the coronation of a dream that’s been going on for 33 years,” De Laurentiis added. “It’s been a long process.”

It’s the first time a club south of Italy’s traditional soccer capitals of Milan and Turin has won the league since Roma claimed the title in 2001.

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