Napoli beat Red Star with Dries Mertens brace to stay atop Group C
Napoli 3 - 1 Red Star

Napoli beat Red Star with Dries Mertens brace to stay atop Group C

29/11/2018

Napoli swept aside Red Star Belgrade with a typically entertaining performance as two goals from Dries Mertens helped them to a 3-1 win over the former European champions in their Champions League match on Wednesday.

Napoli stayed top of Group C with nine points from five games while the Serbian champions, on four points, were eliminated after shipping 13 goals in their three away games.

The win was not enough to guarantee Napoli a place in the round of 16 as Paris Saint-Germain beat Liverpool 2-1 in the other game, leaving the French side on eight points and Liverpool on six.

Napoli visit Liverpool in their last match where they need to avoid losing by two goals or more, or by a 1-0 scoreline, to qualify without depending on PSG's result away to Red Star Belgrade.

"We need to play well and win at Anfield, it's as simple as that," said Napoli coach Carlo Ancelotti. "The truth is that we're top of the group which nobody would have believed at the start.

"This team gives me a lot of excitement, which I have not felt for more than two years, and when you feel emotion you can work better. I feel Neapolitan inside."

Napoli were quickly into their elegant stride and nearly grabbed an early lead with a delightful move.

Kalidou Koulibaly sent Jose Callejon away down the right and his low shot was back-heeled towards goal by Mertens but blocked by goalkeeper Milan Borjan.

It did not take long for Napoli to go ahead although it was from a much simpler move as a corner was flicked on by Nikola Maksimovic, allowing Marek Hamsik to tap in at the far post after 11 minutes.

Koulibaly had a header tipped over by Borjan after a move started and finished by the imposing Senegalese defender before Mertens doubled the lead following another flowing attack, flicking in Fabian Ruiz's deflected cross brilliantly in the 33rd minute.

Hamsik set up the third seven minutes after the re-start with an incisive through ball to Mertens whose superb first touch took the Belgian away from his marker before dinking the ball over the helpless Borjan.

A crafty piece of skill from Marko Marin, who opened up the Napoli defence with a delightful reverse pass, set up Red Star's consolation for El Fardou Ben Nabouhane five minutes later.

"Taking into account that we had a problem with injured players and that the expectations were set high for us, we managed to play a good match tonight, especially in the second half," said Red Star coach Dejan Milojevic.

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14/12/2018
02:05 | Los Angeles Lakers vs Houston Rockets
02:35 | LA Clippers vs San Antonio Spurs
03:35 | Chicago Bulls vs Orlando Magic
04:35 | Dallas Mavericks vs Phoenix Suns
20:45 | Sheffield United - West Bromwich
15/12/2018
01:00 | Atlanta Hawks vs Boston Celtics
01:00 | New York Knicks vs Charlotte Hornets
01:30 | Washington Wizards vs Brooklyn Nets
01:30 | Milwaukee Bucks vs Cleveland Cavaliers
01:30 | Indiana Pacers vs Philadelphia 76ers
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04:00 | Toronto Raptors vs Portland Trail Blazers
04:00 | Golden State Warriors vs Sacramento Kings
13:30 | Manchester City - Everton
15:30 | Hannover 96 - Bayern Munich
16:00 | Tottenham Hotspur - Burnley
16:00 | Bolton Wanderers - Leeds United
16:15 | Real Valladolid - Atletico Madrid
17:00 | Dijon - PSG
18:00 | Inter Milan - Udinese
18:30 | Real Madrid - Rayo Vallecano
18:30 | Borussia Dortmund - Werder Bremen
20:30 | Torino - Juventus
23:00 | Utah Jazz vs Orlando Magic
16/12/2018
01:00 | Los Angeles Lakers vs Charlotte Hornets
01:00 | Boston Celtics vs Detroit Pistons
02:00 | Houston Rockets vs Memphis Grizzlies
02:30 | Chicago Bulls vs San Antonio Spurs
03:00 | LA Clippers vs Oklahoma City Thunder
03:00 | Minnesota Timberwolves vs Phoenix Suns
12:00 | Sevilla - Girona
13:00 | Olympique Lyon - Monaco
14:30 | Brighton - Chelsea
14:30 | Southampton - Arsenal
17:00 | Liverpool - Manchester United
18:00 | Cagliari - Napoli
20:30 | Roma - Genoa
20:45 | Levante - Barcelona
21:00 | Olympique Marseille - Bordeaux
21:00 | Atlanta Hawks vs Brooklyn Nets
21:30 | Philadelphia 76ers vs Cleveland Cavaliers
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17/12/2018
00:00 | Los Angeles Lakers vs Washington Wizards
01:00 | Sacramento Kings vs Dallas Mavericks
01:00 | Miami Heat vs New Orleans Pelicans
02:00 | Toronto Raptors vs Denver Nuggets
20:30 | Atalanta - Lazio
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Derby of the week
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31/12/2018
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