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UEFA Champions League
October 22, 2013
• Stade Vélodrome, Marseille
Referee: C. Çakιr
• Attendance: 39790
A. Ayew 86'
José Callejón 42'
D. Zapata 67'
Thanks for joining me, Ryan Bailey, this evening and until next time, goodbye.
Marseille's hopes hang by a thread. No points from three games means they are not mathematically out, but goals from José Callejón and Duván Zapata mean hopes of progressing are as slim as it gets. A late rally gave some hope, but it is Rafael Benítez's men who leave happy after impressing throughout.
FULL-TIME! The whistle is blown as Napoli hold out for a deserved victory in France.
Maggio and Insigne are trying to keep the ball in the corner but they've not been able to do so for a sustained period. Marseille then win a free kick in a very dangerous position and Mandanda is heading into the box.
A loose ball drops to Cheyrou, who targets the top corner from 30 yards out. However, he slices his effort and fails to worry Reina.
Three minutes added time
Yellow CardJordan Ayew
YELLOW CARD! Jordan Ayew is booked when he hits Inler in the face with an outstretched arm.
Napoli have controlled this game but they'll be feeling nervous with two minutes plus stoppage time remaining. We're in for a frantic final few moments.
GOAL! Andrew Ayew pulls a goal back in spectacular fashion when he fires a half volley into the bottom corner from just outside the box. Superb strike!
Valbuena is finding plenty of space on the left side of midfield in the latter stages of this game. Cheyrou collects a pass from his team mate in the box but he can't deliver a dangerous delivery across the six yard box.
SUB! Hamsik's night is over as he comes off to be replaced by Lorenzo Insigne.
CHANCE! Thauvin once again threatens down the right with some good skill. A cross finds Cheyrou, who fails to make meaningful contact with his shot from just inside the box.
A very speculative effort from the Spaniard Callejon, but does not threaten Steve Mandanda. From just inside the Marseille half the winger attempts a shot but fails to get under it and it flies wide of the post.
Valbuena finds himself in some space on the left wing but his cross is just too high for Thauvin at the back post.
André Pierre Gignac
SUBS!Gignac is replaced by Jordan Ayew, while Mertens heads off to make way for Giandomenico Mesto as Benitez makes his first change.
CHANCE! Thauvin has been involved quite a but since coming on. He begins a good move from the hosts but Gignac can't keep his header down and Reina watches the ball sail over the crossbar.
The situation is forcing Marseille to attack, but still there appears to be no cracks to exploit in the Napoli defence, who are holding out comfortably. Napoli will not mind the opposition coming onto them, as they have displayed their potency on the counter already tonight.
SUB! Payet is replaced by Florian Thauvin as Marseille desperately seek to find a way back into the contest.
GOAL!! Stunning goal from Napoli. Hamsik breaks from midfield at pace before picking out Callejon, who delays a pass to Zapata. The substitute controls before superbly curling the ball into the top corner past a helpless Mandanda.
SHOT! The visitors are in charge again as they win a couple of corners in quick succession. Callejon collects the second set piece 25 yards away from goal but his effort is easily stopped by Mandanda.
Ayew fails to connect cleanly with a low left wing cross as he attempts to volley past Pepe Reina, but the shot does not even reach the goalkeeper.
Napoli are proving to be as stern at the back as they are intelligent in attack. Marseille work some space on a couple of occasions but the visiting defence easily deals with the threat.
SUB! Duvan Zapata is sent on to replace Higuain as Benitez looks to freshen things up in attack.
After Marseille's pair of chances Napoli fire back, with Inler skimming a low effort just wide of the right post from outside the area. Things are really livening up in the Stade Velodrome.
Jeremy Morel whips it in from the left and the midfielder times his run perfectly to meet it but is just unable to keep his header down.
Napoli twice appeal for a penalty. The referee decides that Diawara didn't handle the ball inside the box despite Napoli's protests. Just moments later Mertens goes down but the referee once again ignores the calls for a penalty.
SUB! Kassim Abdallah comes on to replace Fanni, who looks to be struggling with an injury.
Finally a piece of incisive attacking from the hosts, as Gignac pulls the ball out of the air on the left, cuts into the area, and only a last ditch tackle from Raúl Albiol repels the goal bound effort.
Napoli continue to go forward after the break, knowing another goal will really put them in a dominant position. Dries Mertens drives towards the area but Nicolas N'Koulou gets his body between the winger and the ball to cut out the danger.
Marseille are once again struggling to keep possession for long enough to create any opportunities. Inler and Behrami have done a superb job of putting out any fires in midfield tonight.
Higuain's control lets him down at a crucial moment when he's targeted by a long ball into the box. It's not quite going the forward's way yet.
Napoli threaten to break through immediately in the second half but Mertens is prevented from scoring his side's second when the referee awards a free kick for a foul on Diawara.
We're back under way at the Stade Velodrome with a fascinating second half in store.
In the other game in Group F, Arsenal are drawing 1-1 with Borussia Dortmund at the Emirates Stadium.
Benitez will be absolutely delighted with that first half display. Napoli have been the better side and should have been ahead earlier on in the game. A touch of class from Callejon made the breakthrough though and Marseille now have a mountain to climb.
HALF-TIME! And the referee blows the half-time whistle with Napoli going in at the break with a deserved lead.
45' + 1'
Yellow CardDimitri Payet
YELLOW CARD! Awful from Payet as he catches Behrami on the shin with an ugly looking challenge. Napoli's midfielder shakes off a painful one and the game resumes.
Yellow CardBenoît Cheyrou
YELLOW CARD! Cheyrou is given the first booking of the game when he raises his foot too high in the middle of the pitch.
GOAL!! Jose Callejon gives Napoli the lead a couple of minutes before half-time. The winger controls a long ball from Higuain beautifully to fool Fanni on the left side of the box before drilling a low effort into the bottom corner.
SHOT! Valbuena receives the ball on the left wing before cutting in and curling a shot straight into Reina's arms.
Napoli pile on the pressure once again. Hamsik threatens to break free inside the box but he can't keep the ball under control. The visitors win their first corner and Marseille are forced to clear the danger at the second time of asking.
CHANCE! Dreadful miss from Higuain! Napoli once again break at pace and Mertens slides an easy pass to the former Real Madrid striker, who drags his shot wide of the target from inside the box. He can't believe he's missed that opportunity.
SAVE! Reina is worked for the first time as Payet's corner from the right is met strongly by Diawara but the header is straight at the Spanish keeper, and well held.
CHANCE! Morel advances down the left wing before clipping a ball towards Gignac, who wins a corner when his effort is deflected wide. Reina makes a good save from the corner that follows.
Marseille are still labouring but almost finding a opening as a ball into the area drops to Valbuena but the winger allows the covering defenders to get back once again.
Benitez will probably be starting to get a bit annoyed about the lack of chances his side have created. They've been the better side but Mandanda has only been tested once.
The hosts enjoy a good spell and they almost create a chance when Morel's cross drops to Valbuena, who can't quite keep the ball under control inside the box.
The game has settled a little as Marseille slowly begin to work out how to contain the thrusts of Napoli and curb their opponents' threat. The hosts have yet to show any intent of their own, but are at least looking more solid.
OUCH! Diawara brings a promising Napoli move to an abrupt halt when he chops down Higuain. The defender is very lucky not to be booked for that challenge.
Napoli are beginning to control possession in midfield, while Marseille are being forced to play much longer passes. Mertens is furious with the officials when he's wrongly given off side.
Another effort from a very long way out from Payet means Pepe Reina is yet to make a save. Napoli successfully keeping Marseille at arms length here.
A very speculative effort from Cheyrou flies high over the bar. A corner is cleared to him 25 metres out and he attempts to meet the rapidly moving ball on the volley but it is no danger.
Neither side are holding back. Napoli perhaps look the more dangerous of the two teams but the fans are seeing action at both ends of the pitch.
SHOT! Mertens stretches the defence on the left before slipping the charging Armero into the area, but the defender smashes an effort wide of the near post from a tight angle.
CLOSE! Marseille aren't far away from taking the lead when Cheyrou strikes Morel's cross just wide from 10 yards out. That was very close indeed.
A lovely counter from Napoli almost brings reward. Mertens breaks down the left and zips a ball to Jose Callejon on the opposite flank, but the Spaniard is just unable to collect the return after attempting a neat one-two with Higuain.
Mertens does brilliantly to hold off a couple of challenges on the left wing but he cannot pick out a team mate after creating some space for himself inside the box. At the other end, Reina responds well to collect a cross before it can cause any danger.
Marseille have barely had a touch so far with Napoli controlling possession. However, the hosts win a corner through Valbuena but it comes to nothing.
Inler and Behrami are pushing high up the pitch to limit the space in midfield and creating space for their wingers. Mertens has an attempt on goal but this time fails to trouble Mandana.
It's Napoli who are trying to take the initiative here and have started brightly. They're just lacking that killer ball in the final third thus far but it's an encouraging opening few minutes for the Italians.
Marseille have been wasteful in possession in the first few minutes. Napoli aim to take advantage when Mertens and Higuain break quickly but the latter's final delivery is poor.
That was a brilliant save by the goalkeeper to deny a certain goal for the visitors.
A frantic early start sees Payet bring down Mertens 30 metres from goal but the winger's free-kick is saved brilliantly by Steve Mandana.
The visitors kick the game off hoping to bounce back after matchday two's defeat at Arsenal. They are in a better position than the hosts, however, who are yet to secure a point
We're a bit slow to get underway at the Stade Velodrome but both teams are ready now. Napoli kick off in their light blue kit.
The final preparations have been made and the noise is incredible inside the ground. We could be in for a very exciting evening. Just the handshakes left before the game gets underway.
The sides have never met before. Napoli, in only their second UEFA Champions League group stage campaign, have not encountered French opponents since the 1992/93 UEFA Cup second round when a 0-0 draw away to Paris Saint-Germain FC followed a 2-0 home defeat in which George Weah got both goals.
Napoli: Reina; Maggio, Fernandez, Albiol, Armero; Behrami, Inler, Callejon, Hamsik, Mertens; Higuain. Subs: Cabral, Cannavaro, Mesto, Dzemaili, Pandev, Insignia, Zapata.
Marseille: Mandanda; Fanni, Diawara, N'Koulou, Morel; Romao, Cheyrou, Payet, Valbuena; A.Ayew, Gignac. Subs: Samba, Abdallah, Mendy, Lemina, Imbula, J.Ayew, Thauvin.
Marseille have struggled so far in the competition and head into their third game without a point on the board. Napoli beat Borussia Dortmund in their first match before being defeated by the in-form Gunners. With just over twenty minutes until kick-off, lets take a look at the starting line-ups...
The hosts head into the match on a run of poor form and they'll be desperate for a win as they look to keep their qualification hopes alive in Group F. Napoli suffered their first defeat of the competition when they lost 2-0 to Arsenal earlier this month but they can keep the pressure on the Premier League outfit with a victory this evening.
Hello and welcome to LIVE coverage of this evening's Uefa Champions League game between Marseille and Napoli at the Stade Velodrome. I'm Ryan Bailey and I'll be guiding you through proceedings as they happen.
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