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  • Napoli 2-0 Villareal: Hamsik, Cavani scored

    Napoli inflicted a second successive Champions League defeat on Villarreal, as the home side ran out 2-0 winners at the Stadio San Paolo.
    Marek Hamsik and Edinson Cavani struck within three minutes of each other early in the first half to seal all three points for the hosts and see them move into second place in Group A.

    The Italian side took the lead after just 14 minutes when Ezequiel Lavezzi was allowed to control the ball on the right before turning and whipping in an in swinging left footed cross. It found an unmarked and onside Hamsik who volleyed the ball first time low past Diego Lopez. It was a smart finish, but Villarreal coach Juan Carlos Garrido will have been horrified by the amount of space Hamsik was allowed in the heart of the Villarreal penalty box.

    The Azzurri's lead was doubled just two minutes later when Juan Camilo Zuniga played Lavezzi through. The Argentinian out-paced Gonzalo Rodriguez in the Villarreal defence, before his Argentine compatriot clumsily slid in. Despite his protest, the defender was unable to get a touch on the ball as Lavezzi nipped it past him clearly bringing down the striker. Cavani confidently stepped up to send the keeper the wrong way with the penalty.

    Villarreal's best chance of the game fell to the lively Giuseppe Rossi in the 31st minute. Cavani found himself in an unusual position deep in his own half. The Uruguayan tried to play a back pass to Morgan De Sanctis, but the Azzurri's top goal scorer instead laid the ball on a plate to Rossi, who, through one on one with De Sanctis, wildly, and uncharacteristically skewed his first time shot wide.

    In a frantic second half Villarreal saw more of the possession and showed more spirit but struggled to create any clear cut chances against a resolute and well organised Napoli defence.

    Any threat from the Yellow Submarine came from striker Rossi. He was inches away from winning a penalty in the 56th minute when, as he exquisitely clipped the ball one side of Paolo Cannavaro and ran the other, he was cynically blocked off by the Italian defender. Despite Rossi's protests, the referee adjudged the foul to be right on the edge of the area rather than in it. Cannavaro also escaped with just a booking.

    Nilmar also had a penalty claim waived away late on as Zuniga seemed to come through the back of the striker, but Belgian referee Frank De Bleeckere indicated the midfielder had won the ball.

    Napoli had the best chance of scoring in the second half, and killing off the game, when Cavani was put clean through in 65th minute. But the Azzurri's top goal scorer fluffed his lines as he failed to control the ball properly allowing Christian Zapata to clear. From the Colombian's challenge Cavani stayed down, and later limped off. Napoli will hope the talismanic forward we be fit for the rest of the campaign as they look to escape the group of death.

    It was an impressive performance by the Italians who successfully built on their decent performance at the Etihad Stadium. The result means that Manchester City will have a real battle on their hands to get out of what is looking an increasingly tough group.
    Peter Odgers
    Source: Eurosport

    Team Line-up:

    Napoli: De Sanctis, Aronica, Cannavaro, Campagnaro, Gargano, Inler, Gargano, Dossena Zuniga, Hamsik, Lavezzi, Cavani

    Villarreal: Lopez, Mario, Zapata, Muscacchio, Catala, Senna, Bruno, Cani, Camunas, De Guzman, Nilmar.


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