Napoli and Inter record narrow victories in CL
ROME – On Wednesday night, both Napoli and Inter Milan won their Champions League group matches by a one goal margin, maintaining unbeaten starts to their campaigns.
At the San Paolo stadium, Napoli faced a Liverpool side who have made a bright start to their Premier League title hopes, staying unbeaten in the league, win just one draw. However, the Reds looked below-par in Naples, as Napoli controlled the game having 14 shots, to Liverpool’s four.
In fact, the Premier League side didn’t even manage one shot on target, their best chance coming courtesy of Mohammed Salah, who fired just wide after half-time.
The introduction of Dries Mertens and Piotr Zielinski to the game after 70 minutes proved vital for the Italian side. Napoli began to put the pressure on, as Jose Callejon thumped a volley against the bar. Talisman Lorenzo Insigne finally found the breakthrough, finishing off a lovely move down the right at the end of normal time.
In a very difficult group, including PSG alongside Liverpool, Napoli have taken four points from the first two games, transferring their good league performances to the Champions League.
Similarly, Inter Milan, having taken a last-gasp victory against Tottenham in the first group match, completed a 2-1 win away at PSV Eindhoven, and now sit top of a very challenging group alongside Barcelona.
Despite going 1-0 down after 27 minutes after a fantastic strike from the edge of the box from Pablo Rosario, Inter rallied quickly. The Milan team found an equaliser just before half-time through Radja Nainggolan. A strong shot from outside the area was only parried by PSV goalkeeper Zoet, and the ball eventually found itself at the feet of the Belgian midfielder, who fired home emphatically.
Inter managed to transfer that momentum into the second half and took the lead on 60 minutes. Deep-lying midfielder Matias Vecino played a long ball to Mauro Icardi, who controlled it beautifully with his head, before taking it round Zoet and tapping it into an open net.
The three points were by no means secured, however, and PSV continued to push for an equaliser. The Dutch side could have drawn level, were it not for Inter goalkeeper Handanovic’s brilliant reaction save. Substitute Donyell Malen executed a brilliant overhead kick from near the penalty spot, but Handanovic was too quick, sticking out a strong left hand to deny PSV.