Arkadiusz Milik is ensuring Napoli fans quickly forget about Gonzalo Higuain. Milik came off the bench and scored twice to help Napoli beat Bologna 3-1 and move provisionally to the top of Serie A on Saturday.
The Poland forward, who also scored twice midweek in a 2-1 win against Dynamo Kiev in the Champions League, has taken his tally to six goals in all competition for Napoli.
With a transfer fee of about 35 million euros ($40 million), Napoli may have got Milik from Ajax at a bargain.
Higuain netted 36 goals last season to break a 66-year-old Serie A record, but moved to Juventus for an Italian-record 90 million euros ($99 million) in the offseason.
After opening with a disappointing 2-2 draw at promoted Pescara, Napoli followed that with a 4-2 win over AC Milan, and has extended its unbeaten start to four matches.
Jose Callejon put Napoli ahead early, timing his run to perfection to sneak behind Vasilis Torosidis and head Lorenzo Insigne’s pinpoint cross under the diving Angelo Da Costa.
It was Callejon’s 50th goal for Napoli since joining from Real Madrid in 2013. He leads Serie A with five goals.
“I always try to work for the team, then if the goals arrive for me that’s fantastic,” Callejon said. “Milik is showing he is an important player for us. He still has to learn a few things, but we have to make the most of him by giving him confidence, because he is very strong. It was difficult against Bologna, after the Champions League match. But we had a good second half.”
Napoli had other chances and it appeared as if it might be made to pay for its first-half profligacy when Simone Verdi levelled with a stunning 35-yard strike in the second period.
However, Milik was brought on shortly after the hour mark and restored Napoli’s lead with his first touch, beating the offside trap and lifting the ball over Da Costa.
Milik doubled his tally in the 78th and it was game over three minutes later when Emil Krafth was shown a straight red card for bringing down Piotr Zielinski when the Napoli midfielder was clear through on goal.
Napoli moved a point above five-time defending champion Juventus, which will be bidding to maintain its perfect start to the season against Inter Milan on Sunday.
Earlier, Lazio beat Pescara 3-0 after visiting midfielder Ledian Memushaj missed a first-half penalty, with the scoreline still goalless.