·3 October 2023
·3 October 2023
Real Madrid came from behind to eke out a breathtaking 3-2 victory against Napoli in a thrilling contest at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona this evening.
With both sides coming into this season’s Champions League edition as favourites to progress from Group C and going victorious in their opening-day outings, this fixture had all the makings of a top-table six-pointer.
A mouth-watering encounter in south Italy lived up to the billing, producing plenty of goals, drama and another memorable Jude Bellingham moment.
Napoli took the lead 19 minutes into the game through highly-rated defender Leo Ostigard, who opened his Partenopei account in a 4-0 thumping of Lecce at the weekend.
The Norwegian centre-back took advantage of Kepa Arrizabalaga’s failed punched clearance to head home and fire Rudi Garcia’s team 1-0 up amid Madrid’s initiative.
However, Vinicius Junior cut short the hosts’ celebrations in the 27th minute as Bellingham nicked the ball from the Napoli backline and set up the Brazilian for a brilliant equaliser.
The English prodigy took matters into his own hands seven minutes later, scoring one of the most scintillating goals in the opening two Champions League rounds.
Bellingham picked up the ball at the halfway line and breezed past several defenders before finishing with aplomb to hand Carlo Ancelotti’s side a 2-1 half-time lead.
It took Napoli only nine minutes into the second half to get things back to square one.
Despite waving play on at first glance, referee Clement Turpin awarded a penalty for the reigning Serie A champions after consulting with VAR, penalising Nacho Fernandez’s handball inside the box.
Victor Osimhen refused to take responsibility as Piotr Zielinski stepped up to the plate, taking an inch-perfect spot-kick, slotting the ball past Arrizabalaga off the post and in.
Encouraged by the equalising goal, Napoli took control of proceedings, keeping their lines high, forcing a number of turnovers and creating several half-chances, but to no avail.
Los Merengues weathered the storm and came close to re-establishing a one-goal cushion, but Bellingham’s free header sailed past the near post after Alex Meret failed to parry away Joselu’s attempt.
However, Madrid eventually scored their third courtesy of a moment of inspiration from Federico Valverde, who struck the ball with vigour from inside the box.
His thunderous effort rattled off the crossbar before rebounding into the net off Meret’s back.
Napoli tried to bounce back again. However, Osimhen failed to hit the target from a promising position as Ancelotti’s men maintained their flawless start to Group A.
Following a last-gasp 1-0 win over Union Berlin, the 14-time European champions registered another vital triumph, taking a massive step towards another top-table group-stage finish.