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Mertens strikes twice as Napoli sweep pointless Sampdoria aside

Mertens strikes twice as Napoli sweep pointless Sampdoria aside
Soccer Football - Serie A - Napoli v Sampdoria - Stadio San Paolo, Naples, Italy - September 14, 2019 Sampdoria's Emil Audero looks dejected after Napoli's Dries Mertens scores their second goal REUTERS/Ciro De Luca -
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(Reuters) – A Dries Mertens double helped Napoli return to winning ways with a 2-0 victory over Sampdoria on Saturday that continued the visitors’ miserable start to the Serie A season.

Before the international break, Carlo Ancelotti’s side fought back from three goals down against Juventus only for Kalidou Koulibaly to score a stoppage time own goal to gift the champions three points.

Napoli bounced back as Mertens tucked home a finish early in the first half before coming close to doubling his side’s lead five minutes later when he crashed a shot off the bar from a tight angle.

Goalkeeper Alex Meret was alert to prevent an equaliser when he saved Emiliano Rigoni’s finish after the Argentine was sent clean through on goal.

But the result was put beyond doubt midway through the second half when substitute Fernando Llorente, making his debut, picked out Mertens inside the box for the Belgian to find the net for his brace.

The result moves Napoli into fourth place on six points, while Sampdoria remain rooted to the bottom of the table.

Under new coach Eusebio Di Francesco they have lost three games out of three, conceding nine goals and scoring just one.

(Reporting by Alasdair Mackenzie, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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