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Immediate reaction: Napoli 2-3 Real Madrid

Quick recap from Madrid’s visit to Naples.

Napoli v Real Madrid - UEFA Champions League Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images

Rodrygo Goes returned to the starting line-up ahead of in-form Joselu for the Champions League showdown at the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium in Naples. Carlo Ancelotti opted for Eduardo Camavinga at left-back once again, while both Fran Garcia and Ferland Mendy remained on the bench. Before the game, Carlo had spoken about the abundance of quality in the Real Madrid midfield and how it is difficult to pick only four out of them. However, Ancelotti has found a way to fit five of them in the XI by playing Camavinga at left-back.

Real Madrid characteristically went down in the game in the 18th minute due to what could be characterized as a Goalkeeping error. The destination of Kepa’s punches has been a point of discussion since his arrival. His punch landed back to his own defender under the post, but the subsequent clearance fell to Leo Ostigard, who made no mistake from close range.

Real Madrid required a comeback swiftly, and they delivered. A quick combination between Vinicius Jr. and Jude Bellingham found the Brazilian in front of the goal, who slotted in a calm finish to the bottom right corner. Vini Jr.’s return to scoring ways was significant for Madrid.

The provider became the scorer soon after. A Jude Bellingham solo run from the center of that pitch to deep into the Napoli box prepared the stage for Madrid's go-ahead goal. A cracking finish from Bellingham did the rest.

Real Madrid had 57% possession in the first half with 13 shots against Napoli’s 9. Madrid was defensively sharp as well (after conceding), as they won seven areal duals and 27 duels in total. Real Madrid scored two goals from a combined xG of just 0.83 in the first half.

Nacho’s misfortunes with rough tackles continued for the second game running. After receiving a red card during the weekend for his challenge on Portu, the Real Madrid captain conceded a penalty for an awkward slide over Victor Osimhen. Piotr Zieliński made no mistake in bringing parity to the game from the spot in the 54th minute.

Ancelotti made two changes in the 65th minute — Luka Modric for Toni Kroos and Ferland Mendy for Eduardo Camavinga. Napoli’s equalizer gave them some spring in their steps. Napoli continued to attack Madrid’s box and generate shots at consistent intervals.

Madrid came agonizingly close to going ahead again before the final 15 minutes of the game. A well-worked team move ended with Carvajal finding Vinicius on the edge of the box. He didn’t delay to strike, but Meret was up to the task of denying him. The rebound fell to Bellingham, whose header was misguided this time.

However, Madrid didn’t need to wait long. A Luka Modric corner was cleared to a lurking Fede Valverde outside the box. His dagger from 25 yards out gave the Napoli goalkeeper no chance. Madrid went ahead again, with just 12 minutes left on the clock. Discipline in defense was crucial for Madrid in the final minutes of the game. The tactical discipline was fine, but Kepa received a yellow card in the 89th minute for wasting time. Napoli brought a cavalry of substitutes for the final minutes of the game, but it wasn’t enough for a comeback or an equalizer.

Real Madrid now sit comfortably at the top of their group with all six points.

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