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UEFA Champions League

Champions League: Napoli Plans to Surmount Real Mountain



Almost in similar circumstances like Arsenal, Napoli has a high mountain to climb to reach the quarter finals of the UEFA Champions League. The Italian side carries a 3-1 deficit as it hosts Real Madrid this Tuesday.’s reporter, Paolo Menicucci reporting from the base of the Italians revealed that Napoli has a plan to fight back and eliminate Real Madrid which has scored in 46 successive matches.
He reports that former Napoli striker; Careca has suggested in the build-up that Napoli need to defend like “11 Neapolitan Mastiffs for the entire 90 minutes”.
Behind those efforts will be goalkeeper Pepe Reina and, judging by his incredible stoppage-time save in Saturday’s 2-1 Serie A victory at Roma, Napoli are in safe hands.
“We can beat Madrid 2-0 at home,” said Reina. “The away goal is important and we are going to put pressure on them from the start. Madrid were favourites before the tie and still are now, but they will be getting a warm welcome at Stadio San Paolo.”
Indeed, the atmosphere at Napoli’s home may even give the Partenopei the edge; just wait until you hear the volume at which “The Champions” is shouted at the end of the official pre-game anthem.
“The whole city is waiting for this game,” skipper Marek Hamšík told the media on Monday. “The fans will give us great support. I’m sure they will be our 12th man.”
Actually, imagine the atmosphere should Maurizio Sarri’s side pull one back early on. “Madrid are used to playing in these kind of environments, so I don’t think it will affect them,” said the coach.
“I just hope it will affect us. I believe the only thing that can scare a man is to see an incredible determination in the eyes of his opponents – that’s what I hope our fans will transmit to the players.”

Possible line-ups

Napoli: Reina; Hysaj, Koulibaly, Albiol, Ghoulam; Zieliński, Diawara, Hamšík; Callejón, Mertens, Insigne.

Doubtful: Allan (thigh)

Misses next match if booked: Koulibaly


Real Madrid: Navas; Carvajal, Pepe, Ramos, Marcelo; Kroos, Casemiro, Modrić; Bale, Benzema, Ronaldo.
Out: Varane (thigh), Coentrão (muscular problem)
Misses next match if booked: Modrić, Ramos

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and the country’s most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022.

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