Real Madrid overcame a two-goal deficit to earn a 3-2 victory away at Napoli in their Champions League Group C match on Tuesday. The match was decided when Napoli custodian Alex Meret scored an unlucky own goal late in the second half, which gave Real Madrid the victory.
Vinicius Jr. and Jude Bellingham scored for Real Madrid in the first half to cancel out a goal scored by Leo Ostigard with a header for Napoli; nevertheless, a penalty kick scored by Piotr Zielinski early in the second half brought the Italian side level with Real Madrid.
The game-winning goal for Real was scored in the 78th minute when a breathtaking long-range drive from Federico Valverde cannoned against the crossbar and directly into the back of the writhing Meret’s head before rebounding into his own goal.
Real are now in first place in Group C with six points after two games, a three-point advantage over Napoli and Braga. Union Berlin is currently in last place with 0 points.
Real opened the game well, with Vinicius and Bellingham generating all sorts of havoc for the defence of the hosts, and although there were frayed nerves towards the conclusion of the game, Real started the game brilliantly.
It was Vinicius’s second game back after a leg injury that kept him out for more than a month, and he looked dynamic, frequently connecting up with Bellingham as they restored their early-season relationship. It was Vinicius’s second game back from the injury after it had sidelined him for more than a month.
Napoli took the lead with a header from Ostigard in the 19th minute after Real Madrid goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga failed to punch away a corner that was raised into a packed six-yard box. Both teams had scoring opportunities in the early minutes of the game, but it was Napoli who ended up grabbing the lead.
Vinicius and Bellingham scored for the away team inside the opening seven minutes of the second half to get the visitors back into the game.
First, Bellingham made a wonderful interception of a botched pass that was intended for Napoli defender Giovanni Di Lorenzo just outside of their penalty area. He then immediately connected with Vinicius, who made a magnificent angled effort that found its way into the far corner of the net in the 27th minute.
Alex Meret, who plays for Napoli, shows his emotions after scoring an own goal and contributing to Real Madrid’s third goal. PHOTO COURTESY OF REUTERS
EFFORTS THAT DAZZLE
Real Madrid took the lead in the 34th minute thanks to a spectacular goal scored by Bellingham. After dribbling his way past three Napoli defenders, Bellingham finished the play with a neat finish that went just beyond the reach of the custodian and into the bottom left corner.
However, Napoli got themselves back into the game early in the second half, and they tied it up in the 54th minute with a penalty kick from Zielinski. The penalty was granted for a handball committed by the defender Nacho, and the VAR checked it out.
Real’s players and coach Carlo Ancelotti were unhappy with the decision and protested vociferously to the referee Clement Turpin. The referee had first rejected the penalty requests and waved play on, despite the fact that the ball seemed to ricochet off Nacho’s foot before striking his left hand as he slid in to make the challenge. Real’s players and coach Carlo Ancelotti were furious with the decision.
“I do not believe that it constitutes a punishment. “You can’t just cut the hand off the player because it’s a rebound from his foot,” Ancelotti said in an interview with Movistar Plus.
Khvicha Kvaratskhelia came close to scoring for the home team with a shot that went just wide of the goal, while Victor Osimhen had three excellent shots from close range that were saved by Arrizabalaga. The home team was cheered on by their supporters at the Diego Maradona stadium, which was completely packed out.
Luka Modric, a seasoned midfielder for Real Madrid, entered the game off the bench late in the contest and provided a spark for his team.
In the first instance, he sent it up to Bellingham, who failed to capitalise on an easy chance from quite close range in the 75th minute.
After three minutes, Valverde’s long-range attempt reached the back of the goal off of Meret’s head after it had been headed on by Valverde’s corner kick.
“Modric has lived up to expectations. Ancelotti said that “we needed more control and he came in really well, with his experience and quality, controlling the game for us when we needed it.”