Real Madrid 3-1 Napoli: Casemiro thunderbolt caps comebackby Rohan Toure 15/02/2017 18:18:00 0 comments 1 Views
- Lorenzo Insigne gave Napoli an early lead after Keylor Navas was caught out by his quickly-taken shot
- Karim Benzema's point blank header from Dani Carvajal's sublime outside of the boot cross levelled the tie
- Cristiano Ronaldo missed a chance to complete turnaround before half-time while Benzema also struck a post
- But Ronaldo found Toni Kroos on the edge of the box and the German guided the ball into the bottom corner
- Casemiro then put clear daylight between the two sides with a superb 25-yard volley beyond Pepe Reina
By Pete Jenson for the Daily Mail
Published: 16:36 EST, 15 February 2017 | Updated: 18:18 EST, 15 February 2017
Even a Diego Maradona team-talk couldn't halt Real Madrid's march in the Champions League. They have one foot in the quarter-finals after a comfortable win over Napoli, despite a howler from Keylor Navas.
Maradona's pep talk in the bowels of the Bernabeu before the game worked the trick early on with Napoli taking the lead, although the goal owed more to Madrid's blundering keeper than Maradona's inspiration.
Real Madrid have publicly backed their Costa Rican goalkeeper in recent weeks but they are intent on bringing David De Gea or Thibaut Courtois to the club and on eight minutes there was a reminder of why.
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Casemiro scored a contender for goal of the season in the Champions League as Real Madrid beat Napoli on Wednesday
Toni Kroos celebrates his well-taken goal that gave Madrid the lead within four minutes of the second half kicking off
Karim Benzema restored parity within 10 minutes of Napoli going ahead with a header from Dani Carvajal's sublime cross
Lorenzo Insigne sparked celebrations among the 10,000-strong travelling supporters within the Santiago Bernabeu
Madrid will hope to finish off the job when the sides renew their last 16 battle on March 7 at the Stadio San Paolo in Naples
Marek Hamsik played a quick ball through the heart of Real Madrid's defence and Navas' positioning was all wrong to deal with what came next.
Lorenzo Insigne ran on to the pass and from 35 yards out he hit his shot so quickly that it bent around the keeper and just inside his right-hand upright before he could adjust.
Could La Liga's other big club tumble 24-hours after Barcelona? Madrid had conceded early on but they were playing well. Soon they were level.
There had been only 23 seconds showing on the clock when Benzema created, but failed to take, his first chance with Pepe Reina saving his shot.
Napoli legend Diego Maradona prepares to take his seat after delivering a team talk in the Italian club's dressing room
Losing Australian Open finalist Rafa Nadal was among the prestigious guests for the Champions League last 16 clash
The two managers enjoy a warm embrace prior to kick-off with Napoli boss Maurizio Sarri welcomed by Zinedine Zidane
Insigne caught Keylor Navas by surprise by taking his shot from outside of the box quickly after Marek Hamsik's through-ball
The Real Madrid players look shell-shocked having fallen behind to an early goal despite dominating the early stages
Real Madrid (4-3-3): Navas, Carvajal, Sergio Ramos (Pepe 72), Varane, Marcelo, Modric, Casemiro, Kroos, Rodriguez (Lucas 76), Benzema (Morata 82), Ronaldo
Unused subs: Casilla, Nacho, Kovacic, Isco
Goals: Benzema 18, Kroos 49, Casemiro 54
Booked: Ramos, Modric
Napoli (4-3-3): Reina, Hysaj, Albiol, Koulibaly, Ghoulam, Zielinski (Allan 75), Diawara, Hamsik (Milik 84), Callejon, Mertens, Insigne
Unused subs: Rafael Cabral, Giaccherini, Jorginho, Maggio, Maksimovic
Goal: Insigne 8
Booked: Zielinski, Mertens
Referee: Damir Skomina (Slovenia)
His intentions were clear – after several weeks of harsh criticism he was determined to get his 51st Champions League goal in his 89th game.
It came when Dani Carvajal floated a cross into the six-yard box and he powered a header past Reina to level the scores on the night and to go one ahead of Thierry Henry, becoming the Frenchman with most Champions League goals.
The Bernabeu was now fully behind Real Madrid and Ronaldo should have made it 2-1 moments later.
He had come into the game having failed to score in his last 433 minutes of Champions League football but instead of ending the drought just before the half-hour mark he blazed over with only Reina to beat and looked in vain for an offside flag that would have saved his blushes.
Napoli still poured forward. No one in Serie A has scored more goals and they showed no fear against the European Champions. But just before half time they should have gone 2-1 down.
Carvajal and Ronaldo combined well down the right and put Benzema in the clear. Reina came out to meet the striker and did enough to ensure he sent his shot just wide.
The 1-1 half-time score was a fair reflection of an even half but not a great one to take to the Sao Paolo stadium. Could Madrid find something extra in the second period?
Benzema shows his joy at having hauled his side level with a simple finish after Carvajal had done all the hard work
Insigne looks to cause problems down the Napoli left as Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane watches on from the sidelines
James Rodriguez looks to control the ball on his chest having been handed a starting role for the first time since January 4
Cristiano Ronaldo missed a glorious chance to give Real Madrid the lead when he fired over the bar when clean through
Ronaldo can't quite believe his miss as Napoli managed to withstand huge pressure before the interval in the Spanish capital
They could and it came quickly and in double portions. First Toni Kroos crisply stroked the ball past Reina after Ronaldo's clever dribble to the byline and intelligent pull-back.
Then Casemiro lashed in the third from all of 25 yards out with the pick of the night's goals. Madrid had put a safe distance between themselves and Maurizio Sarri's team.
Zinedine Zidane took Sergio Ramos off with 20 minutes left. He looked to be carrying a knock and Madrid looked home and dry.
Germany international Kroos wrong-foots Pep Reina to slide the reigning champions into the lead in the Spanish capital
Kroos stroked Madrid into the lead four minutes into the second half after being found by Ronaldo on the edge of the box
Casemiro had only scored twice for Real prior to Wednesday and the Brazilian is unlikely to score a better goal in his career
Marek Hamsik was instrumental in his side's opening goal with the Slovakian midfielder playing the through ball to Insigne
But they sat back in the last ten minutes and with Navas flailing at his back post Jose Callejon squeezed in what looked like a second goal for Napoli only for the linesman to raise his flag for offside.
Madrid deserved their two-goal margin. James Rodriguez was also denied by Reina and Marcelo pulled a shot wide when set up by Ronaldo. They should finish the job in Italy in the second leg and no one will want them in the last-eight.
They began the season prioritizing La Liga but with Barcelona going, going, almost gone they must feel that a league and Champions League double is on for them this season.
Raphael Varane rises above his team-mate Ronaldo to get up and plant a header towards goal but the ball was glanced wide
Benzema came close to putting Madrid in front before the break but his shot hit the base of the post before clattering Reina
Marcelo looks to dispossess Piotr Zielinski as the hosts took control of proceedings in the second half of the first leg