Champions League: Napoli beat Feyenoord 3-1 to get on the board in Group F

September 27, 2017

Champions League


Napoli bounced back from a poor start to its Champions League campaign with a convincing 3-1 win over Feyenoord on Tuesday.

Dries Mertens extended his red-hot form by scoring one goal and setting up another, while Lorenzo Insigne and Jose Callejon also found the net, and goalkeeper Pepe Reina saved a penalty.

Sofyan Amrabat pulled one back for Feyenoord in added time following a defensive error. “I’m more (upset) for the goal conceded than happy for the performance,” Napoli coach Maurizio Sarri said. “Because in a competition in which goal difference could be a factor, you can’t concede a goal like that 10 seconds from the end.”

Having lost its Group F opener at Shakhtar Donetsk, Napoli played with an urgency that produced effective results. “It was very important to win after the defeat in Ukraine,” Mertens said. “We really want to move forward in the Champions League.”

Insigne scored with an impressive solo effort seven minutes in at the San Paolo stadium, Mertens found the net with a precise angled shot four minutes after the break and Mertens set up Callejon’s goal in the 70th.

Manchester City leads the group with a maximum six points after beating Shakhtar 2-0. Shakhtar and Napoli are next with three points each and Feyenoord is last with zero.

The hosts dominated from the start. After gathering the ball near midfield, Insigne dribbled forward and hit the target with a low strike from the edge of the area.

Inisgne celebrated by holding aloft the No. 99 jersey of recently injured teammate Arkadiusz Milik. Marek Hamsik and Insigne came close to doubling Napoli’s lead before the break.

A through ball from Faouzi Ghoulam set up Mertens’ goal, the eighth in 10 appearances in all competitions this season for the Belgium international.

Ghoulam then conceded the penalty for a foul on Steven Berghuis, only for Reina to guess right, lunging to his left to stop Jens Toornstra’s spot kick.

For Napoli’s third, Mertens turned provider and set up Callejon inside the area. Feyenoord remained winless against Italian opposition since a 1-0 victory over Inter Milan in the semifinal first leg of a triumphant UEFA Cup campaign in 2002.

Dutch fans were banned from the match as a safety measure due to rioting by Feyenoord supporters during the club’s last visit to Italy for a Europa League match in Rome in 2015.

Still, many Feyenoord fans descended on Naples. Three were arrested Monday for throwing rocks at police and 19 were denied entrance at the stadium gates, according to the ANSA news agency.

More than a hundred Feyenoord supporters roamed downtown watched closely by police.

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