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UEFA Champions League
September 18, 2013
• Stadio San Paolo, Napoli
Referee: Pedro Proença
• Attendance: 55766
G. Higuaín 29'
L. Insigne 67'
C. Zúñiga 87' (own goal)
That's all we've got time for tonight, but I hope that you enjoyed following Napoli's 2-1 Champions League win over last year's finalists Borussia Dortmund! I've been Simon Harrison, and I hope to see you all again next time.
Dortmund will have wondered how they could have recovered from that horrendous first half, which saw them lose both Jurgen Klopp and Roman Weidenfeller due to both men being sent off! The ten men didn't do themselves an injustice in the second 45 minutes, but the game was always in Napoli's hands.
There is the full time whistle! Napoli take this, winning by two goals to one, no small part down to the mystical free-kick of Lorenzo Insigne! Goals from the Italian youngster and Gonzalo Higuain are enough for the Serie A side, despite a late scare caused by a Zuniga own goal.
90' + 4'
Great interception from Britos! He's done it again, hooking a very, very dangerous cross away from the danger zone! Aubameyang looked to be able to stroke the ball home, but the Napoli man steps in brilliantly!
90' + 2'
90' + 2'
It's a case of clearing the ball to anywhere now, as Albiol lumps the ball downfield, as far as he possibly can. From a commanding position, Napoli are looking to ride out these last couple of minutes!
Good claim from Reina! The corner is flighted in, and the Napoli 'keeper is quick off his line to grab the ball. This is surely the host's game to lose now, it's just a matter of seeing the game out. Nervy times for the Italian outfit.
REUS! Great save from Pepe Reina! The Spaniard has to be at full stretch to push Reus' effort around the post, but Dortmund have a corner! The first good free-kick attempt from the German, actually!
Dortmund pick up yet another free-kick, as Britos is penalised for a shove on Lewandowski, right in front of the referee. A needless foul for the defender to give away, and it could prove costly.
Own GoalCamilo Zúñiga
GOOOAL! 2-1! OWN GOAL! Reus manages to get in behind the lines, cuts a ball back to the back post, it avoids Lewandowski, but Zuniga places the ball in off the post! Bizarre, but game on!
Great interception from Britos! A stretching leg from the centre-back manages to prevent a great ball finding its way through to Aubameyang! It just doesn't look like Dortmund can find the back of the net tonight.
SAHIN! Close, but not close enough for the Turk. Reina has it covered all the way, and allows for the ball to pass narrowly over the angle of his bar and post, and out for a goal kick.
Dortmund's pressing is just stepping up a step or two in these last ten minutes, as Klopp's men presumably look for an improvement to their goal difference. In doing so, the away side pick up a free-kick on the edge of the box - can they reproduce Insigne's magic?
LEWANDOWSKI! The Poland international receives the ball from Sahin, but his eventual effort is straight at Reina, who simply gets his body behind the ball and smothers at the second opportunity. Solid goalkeeping.
Napoli go down the other end straight away, with Mertens striding into space down the left hand side, but his back post delivery is slightly too pacey for Callejon to turn home! Unlucky for the Spaniard, he was in an excellent position.
HOFMANN! The youngster fires at goal from the edge of the area, and Reina could throw his cap on that! No real belief in that strike from the substitute!
Two standing ovations for two substitutions for Napoli tonight, their fans are overjoyed at what they have seen. Reina has been a rarely busy man tonight, and plenty of chances have been churned out for the Italians the Partinopei in the second half.
MERTENS! The Belgian substitutes tries his luck from a very tight angle, but almost catches Langerak unaware! The substitute goalkeeper does well to get back across his goal and beat the ball away, in what turned out to be a good save in the end.
Callejon does well to get in behind Grosskreutz, cutting across his marker to ensure that he picks up a free-kick. The Dortmund utility man protests his innocence, but the referee isn't in a mood for discussion.
Insigne went off to a true, reverberating standing ovation, and rightly so! His crashing effort caps a faultless display for the youngster, who might be diminutive, but underestimate him at your peril.
HIGUAIN! Zuniga and Insigne combine excellently once again, and their interplay results in a cross in to Higuain, but the goalscorer can't turn it home! Poor effort, and Langerak catches easily.
Napoli are confident on the ball and patient while building, and you can't blame them. Dortmund are in damage limitation mode, and the hosts are coasting to victory. If they can keep tabs on Aubameyang, I can't see any other issues for Benitez' side.
AUBAMEYANG! He hits the bar! The Gabon international strikes the crossbar, after an audacious, dipping effort from the left hand side! That is very close and cruel for the substitute, who has certainly been Dortmund's most dangerous attacking presence.
Yellow CardLorenzo Insigne
Insigne has been excellent and deserves that goal, on what is his Champions League debut. Langerak has looked to have hurt himself after colliding with the post, in an attempt to prevent that beautiful free-kick, but he'll continue.
GOOOOAL! WHAT A GOALLLLL! INSIGNE! He rattles home a 30 yard free-kick, it clips the bottom of the crossbar on the way in, and there is nothing Langerak could do about that!
Langerak does well to powerfully punch away Maggio's corner delivery, that's the first meaningful contribution of the substitute goalkeeper. The pressure is momentarily lifted, but Napoli attack again, before Inler is brought down 30 yards from goal. The hosts have a free-kick.
Zuniga and Insigne combine well, before Inler switches play from left to right, into the path of the marauding Maggio. The Italy international gets to the byline, who tries to centre the ball, but it's deflected behind for another corner.
A good block from Subotic gives Napoli the chance to whip in a corner, but Bender's firm header at the front post denies the hosts! Dortmund really do look moments from conceding a second goal, they're getting deeper. Aubameyang breaks, squaring for Reus, but the German gets his effort all wrong, that is very high and very wide.
INSIGNE! HAMSIK! The Italian skips past Subotic, before cutting the ball back from the byline, but Schmelzer clears! The clearance cannons of the knee of Hamsik, and into the thankful embrace of Langerak! Dortmund are living dangerously!
INLER! The Swiss hits it from range again, but Langerak gets down well to his right to beat the ball away! A spell of total dominance from Napoli, the Serie A outfit are composedly stroking the ball around.
Faceless for so long in this game, Higuain pops up again momentarily and almost gifts his side a second goal, which would certainly solidify their position. Klopp will hope that Lewandowski can do the same!
HIGUAIN! A half-clearance from Sahin allows for Higuain to blast an effort towards goal, but the connection isn't great! A flailing leg blocks the ball's path, and Dortmund escape again!
Aubameyang has had an effect on this game, certainly. The former Saint Etienne man has been running the channels well, and it's testament to the Dortmund man's pace, that Zuniga looks worried.
This match has taken a turn for the worst, with a few mistakes and sloppy passes creeping in. Zuniga, Hamsik and then Lewandowski give away the ball in quick succession. This isn't looking to be up to the standard of attacking football that we had hoped!
Ten minutes into the second half, and there are no signs of either side looking dangerous. Sahin wastes a free-kick delivery, before Mkhitaryan sees a shot blocked!
A lull in the game, with Langerak remaining relatively untested for the time being. Normally when a substitute goalkeeper is thrown into the fray, the opposition side look to test him as soon as possible, but Napoli have failed to muster up anything in the way of a chance thus far.
Aubameyang looks to be the only outlet for this struggling Dortmund side, Napoli are pegging them back in their own half, and it's hard to see how the German side can grab an equaliser.
This isn't the Dortmund that we're used to seeing, they look beaten already. Half-clearance after half-clearance is inviting the Italian side on, and their fans are certainly getting behind any foray forward for their side.
Grosskreutz is forced to clear at the back post, as a good ball from the right hand side from Callejon, looked to find Higuain! Good defending from the utility man, but Dortmund are struggling to get going.
A dominant start for the hosts, who are looking imperious against a Dortmund side that are labouring, with Lewandowski now limping around with an injury. Napoli win a corner from Grosskreutz.
We're back underway for the second half, and Napoli are most certainly in the driving seat! They have the numerical advantages on the scoreboard and in terms of personnel, and Benitez will be quietly confidence with his side's position.
May I remind you that Dortmund have only the one second half substitute to make. The first was made to replace the distraught Mats Hummels, before captain Blaszczkowski was sacrificed to bring on substitute goalkeeper Mitchell Langerak. Seemingly, as he was rushed back from half-fitness for this game, it made most sense to replace the Polish international in an intense game.
Jurgen Klopp will have plenty to say at the break, I'm sure. The Dortmund coach seemed to be sent to the stand for his complaints to the fourth official, after Subotic wasn't permitted to return to the field to help out his fellow defenders, following treatment on a head wound.
No outstanding chances for Napoli nor Dortmund in the first half of proceedings, but Higuain needed no invitation to wriggle free of poor marking by Schmelzer and direct a good header past Weidenfeller. It the Argentine is to score a second, he'll need to do so past a different goalkeeper, as Weidenfeller picked up a deserved red for deliberate handball.
There's the half time whistle! Well, Dortmund fans will have their heads in their hands after that first 45 minutes. A red card, a goal conceded and with Jurgen Klopp sent to the stands, Gonzalo Higuain's opening goal looks like an unassailable lead for Benitez' men.
45' + 3'
45' + 3'
HIGUAIN! The former Real Madrid man tries his luck from range, and it's an easy first save for Langerak to make! That will settle some nerves.
45' + 2'
Red CardRoman Weidenfeller
45' + 2'
This has been a nightmare first half for Dortmund, everything seems to be going wrong! A debutant goalkeeper is forced into action due to Weidenfeller's red, and it seems that the German side will struggle to gain any points from tonight's game!
45' + 1'
45' + 1'
Jurgen Klopp has opted to make a first half change, as Hummels is forced off in considerable pain. Napoli continue after the change, Weidenfeller closes down Higuain and is deemed is deliberately handle the ball outside the box! The ref produces the red, Dortmund are down to ten!
BRITOS! Higuain's header from the set piece is off target, but it almost turns into an excellent assist for Miguel Britos, who leaps up in anticipation at the back post! The centre back can't quite get there, though! Close!
Hamsik goes down, seemingly on the edge of the penalty area after a slight push from Schmelzer, but the fifth official has seemingly deemed that challenge worthy of a free-kick. Hamsik made a meal of it!
A few minutes until the half time break, and I'm sure that Klopp will be hoping for an equaliser before he is allowed to speak to his team in the changing room. It doesn't look likely however, as Maggio wins a throw in, in an advanced position.
Yet another terrible free-kick delivery from Marco Reus! The Dortmund forward looks to lift the ball into the gap in between the Napoli back four and Pepe Reina, but gets too much on it, and the Spaniard claims with ease.
Five minutes until half time, and neither side look particularly likely to find the second goal of this game. This could well be a case of fine margins, as it only took seconds for Higuain to wriggle free of his marker to direct his back post header past the helpless Weidenfeller.
Yellow CardMarcel Schmelzer
Higuain has gone down after a poor tackle from Schmelzer, before Hummels brings down Maggio. Very cynical stuff from the Dortmund left-back, as he decided to kick out at the Argentine goalscorer as he ran past.
Another free-kick for Dortmund, around 30 yards from goal, and both Sahin and Reus stand over the ball once again. Reus tries his luck again, but the German hits the wall. I wonder how long Klopp will allow for Reus to keep taking the free-kick responsibilities.
Yellow CardMiguel Angel Britos
Raul Albiol does well at the second time of asking to outmuscle Lewandowski, those two are having a real tussle in this first half. Once one of them will seemingly inevitably pick up a yellow card, we'll see how it dies down.
REUS! Lewandowski outmuscles Albiol, but the referee allows play to continue! The Polish international shifts play towards Reus, who attempts a volley over his shoulder on the turn, but again the Dortmund winger gets his execution all wrong.
Reus tries his luck from a long range free-kick, and the young German gets it all wrong, looping his strike way, way over the crossbar. Things just aren't quite going right for the visitors so far, and I think that the Napoli support are letting them know they're behind in a tough place.
Yellow CardValon Behrami
Dortmund get a deep free-kick of their own, but Pepe Reina is quick off his line to claim. Behrami picks up a yellow card moments later, bringing down Blaszczykowski poorly in an area of the field which didn't require a challenge to be made.
Well Dortmund are a goal down and a manager down, without Napoli having truly threatened in this game. I'm sure that Benitez will have a wry smile to himself, as he continues to feverishly make notes on proceedings.
The stadium absolutely erupted after that opening goal! The corner was taken quickly, and Subotic is complaining that he should have been allowed back onto the pitch sooner. The Dortmund manager Jurgen Klopp is also furious, and he's been sent off!
GOOOOOAL! HIGUAIN! The Argentine nods home, placing a flicked header into the far corner, leaving Weidenfeller with no chance!
Good challenge from Subotic! The Serbian steps in to take the ball off Insigne, after a smart one-two from the Italian with Zuniga. Napoli just haven't quite found that cutting ball yet.
A corner delivery finds its way to Hummels, who heads narrowly over the bar, before Napoli are forced to concede another set piece. Subotic looks to be bleeding from his forehead, and will need treatment before this game can continue.
LEWANDOWSKI! The Polish striker is denied by Reina staying tall and blocking the effort, before Zuniga heads the ball clear of danger as the rebound threatened to go in.
Insigne tries to keep the ball in play on the left hand side, but his height lets him down, and another Napoli attack breaks down. The Italy U21 has looked impressive thus far, seeing plenty of the ball.
SAHIN! The Turkish international looks to strike a volley whilst in full flight, but can only fire a bobbling effort into the grateful grasp of Pepe Reina. The Napoli goalkeeper has had little taxing work to do.
The opening quarter of an hour hasn't been the all-action affair that some may have touted, but both teams have looked dangerous in wide areas thus far. Mkhitaryan breaks from midfield, but the Armenian is robbed of the ball as he looks to release Lewandowski.
Higuain goes down under the challenge of Hummels, as the Dortmund man looked to give the Spaniard a little nudge, but the referee isn't interesting in the slightest. Higuain is annoyed, but picks himself up to run onto a long ball a moment later - a quick dart off his line from Weidenfeller denies him this time.
INSIGNE! The youngster fires narrowly wide after cutting in from the right onto his favoured right foot, and Weidenfeller will have been glad to hear that effort thump against the advertising boards!
Zuniga does excellently to drive his side out of their own half, beating both Kuba and Grosskreutz to win a throw in, in an advanced area. Grosskreutz is often in Klopp's Champions League plans due to his sheer will to work hard.
INLER! The Swiss midfielder tries his luck from range after a lay off from Higuain, but he fails to get the shot on target. Poor effort, but promising for the Serie A outfit.
A snapshot from Lewandowski is the only chance of the opening minutes, with Napoli yet to give Higuain much of the ball whatsoever. Much has been talked about the former Real Madrid man before this game, and rightly so. The movement of Callejon is also something to watch.
A spell of possession for the visitors is met by voracious booing from the home fans, and an eventual strike from Lewandowski is easily collected by Reina. Routine stuff for the goalkeeper who is on loan from Liverpool.
A rather cagey start to this game, it appears as though both manager's have reiterated to their charges what offensive options are on offer tonight. A early goal should open this fixture up into a tasty encounter, there's definitely the possibility for end-to-end football.
Poor delivery from the set piece leaving Bender stretching at the back post, but the young midfielder can't make solid contact with the ball. A wasted opportunity for the away side there, perhaps.
Benitez finally takes a seat on his bench, and I don't think that the Spaniard will be too discouraged with what he has seen so far, but now his side have to deal with a set piece in a dangerous area.
Jakub Blaszczykowski commits a foul on Inler in a meaningful position of the field, perhaps signalling both side's intentions to not be caught on the break. Both teams have pacey options on the flanks and clinical strikers, not even the slightest chance can be surrendered.
Good interception from Hummels robs Napoli of the opportunity to burst into the box, as Higuain tried to turn his German opponent to wriggle into a goalscoring position.
Smoke is drifting out over the field from the pyrotechnics of the travelling support, but nothing is yet to happen on it. Both teams understandably keen to remain solid in the opening exchanges.
And we are underway! Napoli are in their famous pale blue strip, with Dortmund in their striking yellow. Plenty of flares are being set off in the crowd, the fans are certainly going to have a profound effect on proceedings tonight!
We are moments from kick-off now! The Champions League anthem rings out in the evening air, and this has the makings of a fantastic group game. Both teams in form, both teams scoring goals, and both teams having very vocal followings.
The players have emerged from the tunnel, and the noise inside this stadium is rather deafening. Both teams look set up to attack from the off, so this game certainly has the potential for the action on the field to match the atmosphere in terms of quality.
Rafa Benitez' Real Madrid recruits are all lining up in the starting eleven tonight, and though some thought the signings of Albiol and Callejon to be inadequate and costly, the Spaniards have acquitted themselves well thus far. In competitive games, Callejon has netted in each of Napoli's games, making him a threat for the visitors to be aware of.
As you can see, plenty of youthful vibrancy on the bench for Dortmund tonight, with Klopp perhaps looking to give his youngsters some experience in an intimidating atmosphere. The stadium has been full for the best part of an hour now, and the noise is unbelievable. Naples is a tough place to travel to!
Dortmund substitutes: Langerak, Kirch, Aubameyang, Gunter, Hofmann, Schieber, Durm.
Napoli substitutes: Rafael, Cannavaro, Armero, Dzemaili, Pandev, Mertens, Mesto.
Dortmund starting line-up: Weidenfeller, Schmelzer, Subotic, Hummels, Grosskreutz, Sahin, Bender, Reus, Mkhitaryan, Blaszczykowski, Lewandowski.
Napoli starting line-up: Reina, Maggio, Albiol, Britos, Zuniga, Inler, Behrami, Callejon, Hamsik, Insigne, Higuain.
TEAM NEWS: As aforementioned, no selection issues for the hosts, and Lorenzo Insigne starts in an eleven designed to attack for Napoli. Dortmund are missing Ilkay Gundogan, Sebastian Kehl and Lukasz Piszczek for tonight's match, but Jakub Blaszczykowski manages to pass as fit.
Napoli have a wealth of options, with no first team players on the sidelines through injury, allowing for Benitez's side to have a great opportunity to defeat German side. That said, it won't be an easy task, Dortmund sit top of the Bundesliga and are in great form.
Good evening and welcome to the UEFA Champions League clash between Napoli and Borussia Dortmund. This will be a stern test for Jurgen Klopp's side, despite them being finalists during the last competition, and Rafa Benitez' inspired signing of Jose Callejon could provide the Italians the correct ammunition to sink Dortmund.
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