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Three stats from Napoli 2-3 Real Madrid

From offensive threat to VAR woes


The Stadio Diego Armando Maradona hosted a classic Champions League duel on Wednesday night as Carlo Ancelotti returned to Napoli with Real Madrid, emerging victorious with a 3-2 win.

A Kepa error in goal allowed Leo Østigård to open the scoring for the home team, although Vinícius Júnior and Jude Bellingham then hit back with two goals in seven minutes in similar fashion to put the visitors back on top. A controversial VAR penalty awarded for a Nacho handball gave Piotr Zielinski the chance to level again for Napoli, but Fede Valverde’s rocket caught out the Napoli defence and was put down as an Alex Meret own goal to give Real Madrid the victory.

Here are three stats which help tell the story of the win.

36: Total shots, split evenly at 18 per team

This game was certainly an entertaining one for the neutrals, as it produced a mammoth 36 attempts on goal between the two teams, with each side registering 18 shots each. Of those, it was Napoli who registered both more shots on target and the higher expected goals, but it was clearly Real Madrid who would walk away with the highest number of goals and the three points.

In total, Napoli recorded seven shots on target, with Victor Osimhen recording one and 0.36 xG as he missed a high-quality chance with a header which was sent straight at Kepa shortly before half-time. In total, they racked up 1.98 xG, almost precisely their goal return, to make it the highest amount of xG conceded in a single game for Real Madrid this season.

At the other end, Real Madrid were far more clinical. Jude Bellingham scored with his only shot on target, sending one more wide and having another attempt blocked, and Vinícius Júnior had a total of six attempts, with two on target including his goal. The next best chance fell to Rodrygo Goes, who was unfortunate to see Alex Meret deny him with a strong save early doors.

This game was very even in every sense, and in fact the total number of completed passes only differed by three between the teams, and reflected the battle that Real Madrid had to overcome. Currently occupying the top two positions in the group, the battle at the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu in November is one worth putting in the diary.

2: Before Jude Bellingham, only 2 other men had scored in their first 2 Champions League games for Real Madrid

With his strike against Napoli, and his now trademark celebration, Jude Bellingham has continued his fine form which has marked his start to life at Real Madrid. With eight goals and three assists in his first nine games, he also took his tally to two goals in his first two Real Madrid games in the club’s favourite tournament, the Champions League.

In doing so, he joined a fairly exclusive club with only two other men to score in both of their first two Champions League appearances for Real Madrid. One of those was a certain Cristiano Ronaldo, in 2009. He scored twice against FC Zürich and then followed it up with another brace in the next outing against Olympique Marseille. He then missed two games through injury and drew a blank in the home win over FC Zürich in the penultimate game of the group stage.

The other was winger Christian Karembeu, who joined in 1998 and was thrown right in at the thick end of the action. His Champions League debut for the club came against Bayer Leverkusen in the quarter-finals and he scored in both legs. He then made it a goal in each of his first three matches in the tournament in a Real Madrid shirt as he notched in the semi-final first leg against Borussia Dortmund at the Bernabéu.

There are years ahead left for Bellingham to build a legacy with Real Madrid in this tournament, something he will be expected to do, and it’s already a good omen that both Cristiano Ronaldo and Christian Karembeu would go on to life the big-eared trophy during their time at the club.

33: Penalties awarded against Real Madrid in the UCL, more than any other team

When Nacho was punished by a referee for the second time in four days, his arm was judged to have handled the ball as he slid in to tackle Victor Osimhen inside the box. It allowed Napoli to make the scoreline level at 2-2 when Piotr Zielinski powered in off the post, but also represented Real Madrid’s 33rd penalty conceded in Champions League history.

That is more than any other side in the competition’s history, with four more than the joint-second place teams, Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain. Behind them are Juventus on 27, Bayern Munich and Ajax on 26, and Porto on 25.

But as Clement Turpin pointed to the spot, he made history as it became the very first penalty to be awarded against Real Madrid in the Champions League by VAR. Since the introduction of the technology for the 2019/20 campaign, it has not been used to award a penalty against Los Blancos until it came into action in Naples on Tuesday night.

The Frenchman was taking charge of his sixth match involving Real Madrid, with a round total of six wins following this clash. That run includes the 2022 final against Liverpool. This penalty against Nacho was his first penalty awarded against Real Madrid, and it almost proved enough to end the team’s winning streak with Turpin in the middle.

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