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Napoli v Rangers Live Commentary, 27/10/2022

FT
3 - 0
NAP
RAN
G. Simeone (11)
G. Simeone (16)
L. Østigård (80)
Stadio Diego Armando Maradona

Commentary

That's all from Stadio Maradona today, so thank you for joining us and goodbye!
While Napoli close out their Group A campaign with a much-anticipated trip to Anfield next week, when they'll aim to secure top spot, Rangers require a minor miracle to overhaul Ajax on their head-to-head record, so are unlikely to salvage a return to the Europa League.
Averaging four goals per game, with five wins from five, peerless Napoli stride on in the Champions League. Though only sporadically at their scintillating best, the Partenopei were able to see off a tame Rangers challenge again; posting a club-record 12th straight win in the process. Simeone's first-half double saw them sprint into what was ultimately an unassailable lead, and the Serie A leaders will be a team to be feared in the knockout stages. Rangers remain rock-bottom, having now conceded 19 goals.
90' + 4' FULL-TIME: NAPOLI 3-0 RANGERS
90' + 2' JUST WIDE! Played in by Zielinski, on the edge of the box, Simeone spurns a golden chance to complete his hat-trick! The striker slides his shot narrowly wide of the left-hand post, with McGregor left exposed by his defence. That's surely the last attacking move of the match.
Mário Rui
Yellow Card
Napoli
90' Always a combative figure, Rui receives a needless yellow card for pulling back Sakala near the halfway line.
89' CLOSE! Rangers miss another chance for a second Champions League goal of the campaign, as Colak steers a back-post header wide following a free-kick from out on the right touchline.
Kim Min-Jae
Yellow Card
Napoli
88' A particularly clumsy challenge by Kim on Lundstram concedes a free-kick 30 yards from goal, on the right, and he is shown a yellow card too.
A. Zanoli
G. Di Lorenzo
Napoli
86' Following another captain's performance, having dominated the right flank and set up the opening goal, Di Lorenzo receives warm applause as he departs; Zanoli comes on.
85' Napoli are just calmly stroking the ball around inside their own half, there's no need to expend any more energy now, with three more points in the bag. Spalletti will consider this a job well done.
A. Zerbin
G. Raspadori
Napoli
83' Raspadori has earned his rest; Zerbin is given the opportunity to replace him.
P. Zieliński
S. Lobotka
Napoli
83' After another impressive shift in the engine room, Lobotka makes way for Zielinski.
G. Raspadori
Assist
Napoli
80' Though he's missed a couple of good chances himself, Raspadori posts an assist, as his inswinging corner is headed home by Ostigard.
L. Østigård
Goal
Napoli
80' GAME OVER! Ostigard kills off any lingering hope for Rangers, as he plants a powerful header past McGregor from the centre of the box, following an inswinging corner by Raspadori. It's 3-0 to Napoli, who march remorselessly on - they haven't even been in top gear!
79' SAVE! The Napoli full-backs combine, as Di Lorenzo drives into the right side of the area; crossing to the far post, where Rui sees a powerful shot turned behind by an alert McGregor. That's a corner.
78' Just on to the pitch, Barisic does well to close down Simeone, who pursues a throughball into the box, then coolly clears his lines.
B. Barišić
L. King
Rangers
76' King can't continue after sustaining a possible ankle injury, so limps off to be replaced by Barisic.
75' Another injury stoppage breaks up play, as King lands awkwardly after making a clearing header and requires medical treatment.
G. Gaetano
E. Elmas
Napoli
73' Carrying a minor muscular injury, or perhaps some cramp, Elmas makes way; Gaetano comes on to replace him.
H. Lozano
M. Politano
Napoli
73' Spalletti makes a double change: First, Politano shares playing time with right-wing rival Lozano once again.
72' Despite attempts to continue, it seems that Elmas is indeed unable to do so, as he hobbles around midfield making the universal 'substitution' gesture to the Napoli bench. He'll come off soon.
70' After making a sliding challenge just outside the centre-circle, Elmas is down on the turf, apparently injured. However, he soon seems able to try and run it off, and the action resumes.
A. Čolak
A. Morelos
Rangers
68' Shortly after his glaring miss, Morelos makes way for Rangers' top scorer Colak.
S. Arfield
M. Tillman
Rangers
67' A frustrating game for Tillman comes to its conclusion; Arfield is his midfield replacement.
66' MISS! A brilliant low cross, whipped across from the left side of the box by Yilmaz, somehow evades the outstretched boot of Morelos inside the six-yard box and scuttles away to safety. The Rangers striker really had to score there - what a chance!
66' A rare off-day for Raspadori continues, as the Italy international collects the ball outside the box and curls a shot towards the far post, which travels harmlessly over the crossbar.
64' CLOSE! Tavernier's corner is flicked on to the back post, where a spectacular Morelos volley is blocked out at close range by Rui! That's another corner!
62' Like in the first half, Rangers are definitely growing in stature as this half progresses. They are actually on top now, but must surely make it pay soon if they are to salvage something from this game.
60' A foul by Politano midway though his own half, on the right-hand side, offers Rangers the chance to feed a free-kick into the area. Yilmaz's cross is not initially successful, and even when it's subsequently recycled, the visitors cannot force an opening.
58' When Tillman is played through by Lundstram, the Rangers forward just can't get a shot off before stumbling and being penalised for handling the ball in the Napoli box.
56' As Napoli surpass 500 passes since the first whistle, Rangers are just chasing shadows. No matter how hard they run, the home side's interplay is simply too hot to handle.
54' Highlighting their utter dominance of the ball to this point, Napoli have attempted 493 passes already - their highest total in a Champions League match since the start of last season.
52' SAVE! Simeone strikes for his hat-trick, shooting towards the near post, but McGregor makes a save with his leg and turns the ball behind for a corner!
49' Though the flag ultimately goes up for a close offside call, Simeone is unlucky to see a lobbed shot bounce over the bar, following a clever hooked pass from Politano.
48' Dropping back from his deep-lying midfield role, Sands steps in to steal the ball off Simeone - who is seeking his hat-trick goal - just inside the area.
F. Sakala
S. Wright
Rangers
46' Perhaps unsurprisingly, Rangers have made a half-time change: Sakala adds some pace to the Rangers attack, with Wright making way.
46' At the second attempt, Napoli kick off, and we are back under way at Stadio Maradona!
Conceding one more goal today would see Rangers ship 19 goals in the Champions League this season. That would represent the most by any Scottish side to date - more than the 18 conceded by Celtic in 2017.
A half of two halves saw Napoli start by tearing into their visitors in characteristic style; establishing a two-goal lead through Simeone's clinical brace. Both goals came before the midway point, and within five minutes of each other, but when the Azzurri gradually eased off, Rangers managed to threaten on a couple of occasions. Given how the opening stages panned out, the Glasgow side will perhaps be grateful their deficit is not greater, but they are not entirely out of contention just yet - will Napoli continue to drop down the gears after the break?
45' + 3' HALF-TIME: NAPOLI 2-0 RANGERS
45' + 1' In the first minute of first-half stoppage time, Rui does well to charge to the left byline at top speed, but his sharp pull-back is just cut out before finding Ndombele unmarked on the edge of the box.
44' SHARP STOP! Carelessly, Lobotka loses the ball in midfield, which sets Rangers off on the break. Though Morelos is heading into space, Ostigard recovers well and slows him down. The Colombian still gets a low shot off, which Meret diverts behind with a save at full stretch! Rangers are creeping back into this!
J. Lundstram
Yellow Card
Rangers
42' For clearly hauling back Ndombele - practically attempting a shirt swap before full-time - Lundstram is deservedly booked.
41' Kim makes an important block on the edge of his six-yard box, as Tillman slips away from his marker to edge inside the Napoli area and attempt a shot at goal.
39' SAVE! McGregor makes a regulation stop, as Politano clips over an inviting cross from the right byline, which allows Raspadori - arriving at the back post - to connect with a header. However, it lacks power and direction, so doesn't trouble the veteran goalkeeper.
38' Wright tries to drive into space from just inside the Napoli half, but Raspadori chases back willingly and disposesses him cleanly.
36' Following a clash with Simeone in midfield, Sands briefly lies prone on the grass. He complains to the referee, but ultimately has to make do with a free-kick as he gets back to his feet.
34' Just after a promising move breaks down inside the Napoli area, Morelos makes progress down the right before sending a dangerous low ball across the box. However, no orange shirts have made the run to capitalise and the hosts clear their lines.
32' Napoli seem to be taking another breather after the break for Ostigard's injury; Rangers will be relieved, but can they now take advantage?
30' As Ostigard is down on the turf, receiving treatment for a knock, this breathless game finally takes a brief pause. Half an hour has zipped by at the Maradona, but Rangers will surely welcome another 15 minutes going by quickly - they need half-time.
28' Kim brings down Morelos with a crunching tackle, and a free-kick is awarded in midfield. The Rangers striker vehemently claims his opponent should receive a booking, but the referee is not interested.
26' Simeone does well to stand a ball up to the back post from the right byline, under heavy pressure, but his strike partner Raspadori mistimes his header and turns the ball wide.
25' After an error by Ndombele in midfield, Rangers have their first real opening: Morelos tries to run clear, but Kim charges back and makes a polished interception - that receives a thunderous applause from the fans.
24' Napoli are incessant! Now, Politano jinks inside and out down the right, then takes a pop at goal from the edge of the box, which is blocked at close range.
22' OFF THE BAR! Ndombele is enjoying himself today, as he picks the ball up in space outside the area and lets fly with a fearsome strike at goal. It crashes against the centre of the crossbar and bounces back out to relative safety! Rangers escape - for now!
20' Giving their under-fire defence some much needed breathing space, Rangers have managed to push a few yards up the pitch and take some time on the ball. It feels as though Napoli are just building up towards another onslaught.
18' Napoli have had 73 per cent of possession through the opening stages of this game, and their Scottish counterparts are merely hanging on for dear life at the moment - they've barely been out of their own half.
Mário Rui
Assist
Napoli
16' Rui is allowed to advance down the left, and he whips over a precise cross to find the head of Simeone in the centre.
G. Simeone
Goal
Napoli
16' SIMEONE STRIKES AGAIN! Rangers are in trouble here, as Napoli once more slice through the visitors' defence like a hot knife through butter! Simeone grabs a quickfire double by turning in Rui's curling cross from the left with his head. Already, it's 2-0 at the Maradona!
13' Following Simeone's third goal of this season's competition, Rangers have now shipped six first-half goals in five games - only Viktoria Plzen (13) and Juventus (eight) have conceded more.
G. Di Lorenzo
Assist
Napoli
11' After taking the ball from Ndombele high up on the right flank, Di Lorenzo curls a precise pass low into the area for Simeone to control and finish.
G. Simeone
Goal
Napoli
11' NAPOLI LEAD! A typically razor-sharp move down the right-hand side sees Napoli captain Di Lorenzo whip a delicious low ball towards the right side of the area, before Simeone takes a cool touch and rifles it in at the far post. McGregor had no chance, and despite their changes, the home side look in full flow already: 1-0!
B. Davies
Yellow Card
Rangers
9' Putting him in trouble for the remaining 80-plus minutes, Davies is booked for an ill-timed lunging challenge on Raspadori in midfield. He may well regret that later on.
7' Rangers have started giving the ball away fairly frequently; inviting more pressure from their Azzurri-clad hosts, who are swarming around the visitors' defensive third.
5' Ndombele earns a free-kick around 30 yards from goal, but Napoli decline to send it into the area. Eventually, a more deliberate move ends with the Frenchman crossing from the right byline at pace, and Simeone can only steer the ball well wide with his header.
3' The first combination between Di Lorenzo and Politano down the right ends with the latter clipping a cross towards the centre from near the byline. It drops to Elmas, but after he sends a volley crashing into a pack of defenders, the flag goes up for offside.
1' Clad in bright orange, Rangers kick off: we are under way in Naples!
The players are out on the pitch, and as the Champions League anthem reverberates around Stadio Maradona, kick-off is now just moments away!
Morelos gets the nod over Colak up front for Rangers today, as Giovanni Van Bronckhorst makes four changes to the side that drew with Livingston at the weekend. Yilmaz is given his first Champions League start, while Sands and Wright also find themselves promoted to the first XI. The visitors' injury list remains lengthy, as John Souttar joins Ryan Jack, Connor Goldson and Glen Kamara among those sidelined.
After scoring three goals in as many games since returning from injury - the most recent being Sunday's winner at Roma - Osimhen is rested today. Simeone, Raspadori and Politano comprise Napoli's new-look front three, as Lozano and Kvaratskhelia also drop to the bench. Replacing Jesus, and with Rrahmani still injured, centre-back Ostigard makes his Champions League debut. Meanwhile, in midfield, Zielinski makes way for Elmas.
SUBS: Jon McLaughlin, Robby McCrorie, Rabbi Matondo, Connor Allan, Antonio Colak, Borna Barisic, Adam Devine, Steven Davis, Alex Lowry, Fashion Sakala, Scott Arfield.
RANGERS (4-2-3-1): Allan McGregor; James Tavernier, Leon King, Ben Davies, Ridvan Yilmaz; James Sands, John Lundstram; Scott Wright, Malik Tillman, Ryan Kent; Alfredo Morelos.
SUBS: Valerio Boffelli, Hubert Idasiak, Mathias Olivera, Piotr Zielinski, Alessio Zerbin, Alessandro Zanoli, Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa, Hirving Lozano, Victor Osimhen, Gianluca Gaetano, Juan Jesus.
NAPOLI (4-3-3): Alex Meret; Giovanni Di Lorenzo, Kim Min-Jae, Leo Ostigard, Mario Rui; Tanguy Ndombele, Stanislav Lobotka, Eljif Elmas; Matteo Politano, Giovanni Simeone, Giacomo Raspadori.
As their only previous meeting with today's hosts was on the second day of this year's Champions League campaign - a chastening 3-0 defeat at Ibrox - Rangers hope to fare far better in Naples. Still searching for their first point in Group A, the Glasgow side did record their first goal last time out, but were still thrashed 7-1 by Liverpool. Following the club's worst ever home defeat, they won their next two domestic games before being held by 10-man Livingston on Saturday. With a little help from Ajax, last season's Europa League finalists can still earn another shot at the second-tier competition by finishing third next week.
Top of both Group A and Serie A following a superb start to the season, relentless Napoli have won each of their last 11 matches at home and abroad; already confirming qualification to the Champions League's last 16 in the process. Luciano Spalletti's side have won four from four in the group stage so far, having put 10 goals past Ajax over the past two matchdays. After edging out Roma at the weekend, in the Derby del Sole, they can now assure first place in Group A by completing the double over Rangers, should Liverpool fail to beat Ajax.
Hello and welcome to live coverage of today's Champions League clash at Stadio Maradona, between Group A leaders Napoli and rock-bottom Rangers!