Record-signing Lozano starting to fit in at Napoli

ROME (AP) — Small in stature and with the speed to match fellow forwards like Dries Mertens and Lorenzo Insigne, Hirving Lozano fits right in at Napoli.

The Mexico forward ran onto a ball over the top from Fabián Ruiz and scored the winner two minutes after he came on in a 2-1 victory at relegation-threatened Genoa in Serie A on Wednesday.

It was the exact type of goal that Mertens, Insigne and José Callejón have made Napoli’s signature play in recent years.

It was also Lozano’s second goal of the restart after getting thrown out of training by Napoli coach Gennaro Gattuso for a lack of dedication.

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The 5-foot-9 (1.76-meter) Lozano became Napoli’s most expensive player in history a year ago when he was signed from PSV Eindhoven for a club record 42 million euros ($46.5 million).

After a difficult start to the season that coincided with Gattuso replacing Carlo Ancelotti, Lozano is starting to show he can be a worthy substitute for Mertens, whom he replaced in the second half at the Luigi Ferraris stadium.

However, Napoli’s all-time leading scorer Mertens remains the first choice at center forward and the Belgium international showed why when he curled a shot from the edge of the area into the bottom corner to put Napoli ahead in first-half added time.

Shortly after the break, Edoardo Goldaniga equalized for Genoa with a header.

Freshly crowned Italian Cup champion Napoli has lost only one match of the restart. This win meant the Partenopei reclaimed fifth place from AC Milan, which stunned Juventus 4-2 on Tuesday.

“We’re doing well and I″m satisfied with the team but I want even more of a competitive mentality,” Gattuso said. “You don’t get anywhere with technical skills alone. Soccer is made up of a lot of components, both physical and mental.”

Genoa remained one point from safety.

Also, Fiorentina was held 0-0 at home by Cagliari.

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Andrew Dampf is at https://twitter.com/AndrewDampf

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