Tuesday 7 Mar

Napoli vs Real Madrid Match Preview

07 Mar 2017 Stuart S. INTERNATIONAL CLUBS: UEFA Champions League, Knockout stage
INTERNATIONAL CLUBS: UEFA Champions League, Knockout stage

SSC Napoli

  • L
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • W

vs

Kick-off
19:45 GMT
07 March 2017

Real Madrid

  • W
  • L
  • W
  • D
  • W

Kick-off
19:45 GMT 07 March 2017

After a 3-1 win for Real Madrid in the first leg of this UEFA Champions League last 16 tie, Napoli will be hoping to defy the odds and beat the current Champions League holders. An away goal for Napoli in the first leg, that came courtesy of Lorenzo Insigne’s superb long shot, could prove to be vital if they are to get through to the next round. The visitors did well to come from a goal down to get 3 goals, the 3rd was a fantastic volley from an unlikely source, which was Casemiro.

STATS

  • Napoli have been really strong in Europe this season as their only loss has come away at the Bernabeu in the first leg of this tie after going the whole group stage unbeaten. They won 2 of their 3 home games in the group and will hope to increase this to 3 wins in the Champions League with a win over the Spanish giants.
  • Real Madrid also didn’t lose throughout the duration of the group stage, but with 3 draws they didn’t manage to top their group. 2 draws with Dortmund and a poor away draw with Legia Warsaw meant they finished second in their group, as Dortmund came first. An unconvincing performance in the first leg against Napoli sees them take a rather fortunate 3-1 lead into this big second leg.
  • Dries Mertens’ 4 goals in the competition make him Napoli’s most deadly threat to Real Madrid but his great bond with Marek Hamsik and Lorenzo Insigne will give the Real Madrid defence a very busy evening.
  • It comes as a surprise that Cristiano Ronaldo isn’t Los Blancos’ top scorer in the Champions League and it is, in fact, Karim Benzema with 5 goals. After Gareth Bale has recently recovered from his ankle injury, he provides another attacking threat to the Italian side.

HEAD TO HEAD

The two sides have only met once in European competition and this was in the first leg of this contest, which Real Madrid won 3-1. However, Napoli can take a lot of positives from the result as they played some great football and scored an excellent goal.

NAPOLI NEWS

To have a decent chance of progression to the next round of the Champions League, Napoli are going to have to attack right from the start and get at least one goal before half time. To do this they will need a fully available squad for the game, which they have been blessed with. With only one doubt for the fixture (Lorenzo Tonelli), they should have a great shot at beating the current holders.

Latest matches: SSC Napoli

04.03.2017 Seri AS Roma SSC Napoli 1:2 W
28.02.2017 Copp Juventus Turin SSC Napoli 3:1 L
25.02.2017 Seri SSC Napoli Atalanta Bergamasca 0:2 L
19.02.2017 Seri AC Chievo Verona SSC Napoli 1:3 W
15.02.2017 UEFA Real Madrid SSC Napoli 3:1 L

REAL MADRID NEWS

Real Madrid certainly have the quality to hold onto their two-goal lead in the second leg but defensive solidarity will be vital. The absences of Raphael Varane and Fabio Coentrao shouldn’t be too costly as Pepe and Marcelo are more than capable of taking the centre-back and left-back positions.

Latest matches: Real Madrid

04.03.2017 LaLi SD Eibar Real Madrid 1:4 W
01.03.2017 LaLi Real Madrid Las Palmas UD 3:3 D
26.02.2017 LaLi Villarreal CF Real Madrid 2:3 W
22.02.2017 LaLi Valencia CF Real Madrid 2:1 L
18.02.2017 LaLi Real Madrid Espanyol Barcelona 2:0 W

SUMMARY

Real Madrid are fully expected to make it through to the Champions League quarter-final but they may struggle to get a win on the night. A win on the night would be brilliant for Napoli but they will need to win by at least 2 goals to have any hope of going through, which will be a great ask against Real Madrid. The visitors are definitely favourites heading into this one.

About the author - Stuart S.

An English freelance sports writer, Stuart has written the Arsenal blog A Cultured Left Foot since 2006, as well as numerous betting previews and articles.

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