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Real Madrid Post A Commanding 3-1 Victory Over Napoli

A match between Serie A’s leading scorers, Napoli, and the side with the second-highest total in La Liga, Real Madrid, was always likely to contain fireworks. Wednesday’s first leg at the Santiago Bernabeu didn’t disappoint.

Napoli tried to play their attacking game against the Champions League holders, but Real Madrid were simply a class above Napoli with Diego Maradona watching on.

Karim Benzema almost opened the scoring in the first minute when a Cristiano Ronaldo cutback resulted in a shot that Pepe Reina palmed away — had it been placed either side of Reina, it would’ve been a remarkable opening for Real.

Napoli’s first real dangerous spell of position resulted in a goal in the eighth minute from Lorenzo Insigne. Marek Hamsik played a through ball for Insigne, and, although he wasn’t clear through on goal, he looked up to spot Keylor Navas off his line. Insigne sent a low, curling effort beyond the scrabbling Navas and into the side-netting.

Real Madrid responded only 10 minutes later through Benzema. Daniel Carvajal sent in an inch-perfect cross with the outside of his boot to Benzema, who’d drifted between his markers, and he sent his header beyond Reina to level the scores in the 18th minute.


In the 27th minute, a beautiful pass from Luka Modric released Ronaldo in the box, but he blazed his shot over. Sergio Ramos sent a header wide, Modric had a half-chance and Hamsik fired just outside the left-post in a wonderfully attacking opening half hour.

Real came closest to adding a second in the first half when Ronaldo’s driven low ball across the box found Benzema. Reina rushed off his line, but Benzema’s shot got past him, only to agonizingly hit the outside of the post and glance out of play.

Real took a deserved lead in the 49th after Ronaldo worked his way to the byline, looked up and spotted Toni Kroos near the top of the box. Kroos sent a guided effort inside the post and Real were up 2-1 with 50 minutes gone.

Real’s third goal arrived in the 54th minute, and it was a spectacular volley from an unlikely source: defensive midfielder Casemiro.

Napoli almost pulled a goal back in the 81st minute, but it was correctly ruled out for offside. With Napoli’s firepower, this tie certainly isn’t over, but it will take something special from them to overturn this deficit in the second leg.

The second leg at the Stadio San Paolo in Naples will take place on March 7.

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