Champions League, Napoli wastes the first qualifying match point: Union Berlin draws (1-1) at the San Paolo


By John

Napoli-Union Berlin 1-1

MARKERS: 39′ pt Politano, 7′ st Fofana.

NAPLES (4-3-3): Meret 6; Di Lorenzo 6, Rrahmani 6, Natan 6, Mario Rui 6.5 (32′ st Olivera sv); Anguissa 6, Lobotka 6 (32′ st Simeone sv), Zielinski 6.5 (45′ +1′ st Cajuste sv); Politano 7 (42′ st Lindstrom sv), Raspadori 5, Kvaratskhelia 5.5. On the bench: Gollini, Contini, Juan Jesus, Ostigard, Zanoli, Zerbin, Gaetano, Elmas. Coach: Garcia 6

UNION BERLIN (3-5-2): Ronnow 6.5; Jaeckel 5.5, Bonucci 6, Leite 5.5; Juranovic 6.5 (19′ st Trimmel 6), Haberer 6 (34′ st Aaronson sv), Khedira 6 (25′ st Tousart 6), Laidouni 6.5 (26′ st Kral 6), Roussillon 6.5 (35′ st Gosens sv); Becker 6.5, Fofana 7. On the bench: Volland, Bahrens, Knoche, Schwolow, Dehl, Stein. Coach: Fischer 6.5

REFEREE: Makkellie (Netherlands) 6

NOTE: Clear skies, pitch in good condition. Booked: Bonucci, Jaeckel, Simeone, Tousart. Corners 18-4. Recovery time 5′ +2′ first half, 7′ +1′ second half.

Napoli fails to grant itself an encore against Union Berlin and, on the fourth day of the Champions League group stage, they had to settle for a draw. At the Maradona stadium it ends 1-1 with goals from Politano And Fofana: Garcia’s team is thus unable to momentarily catch up with Real Madrid at the top of Group C, taking them to 7 points, -2 behind the Spaniards (with one game less), while the Germans, having won their first point, are still arithmetically out from the competition.
The Germans bravely approached the match, but it was the Neapolitans who took control of the game after about ten minutes, frightening their opponents for the first time with a poisonous conclusion from Zielinski. In the 24th minute the Azzurri were one step away from taking the lead with Natan, who hit the post with his head following a cross from Zielinski himself, then they would have found it exactly half an hour later with Anguissa, if it weren’t for a foul by assistant Di Lorenzo punished by Var.

However, the hosts did not give up and, thanks also to a bit of luck, found the 1-0 in the 39th minute: Mario Rui crossed low from the left, a defender deflected it and unleashed a carom on Politano who in a completely casual manner beat the German goalkeeper. In injury time in the first half, the first real goal opportunity also arrived for the guests: Juranovic took it upon himself to kick a free kick, which unfortunately hit the post to the right of a motionless Meret. At the start of the second half, Napoli started to attack again immediately in search of a second, but in the 52nd minute Union Berlin equalized unexpectedly as they took advantage of a restart to strike with Fofana, who was cold in the tap-in after a clearance from Meret on Becker. The match becomes unpredictable and very open to any outcome: the Azzurri try to react a little confusedly, while on the other side the Germans try again for luck on the restart, arriving at a shot with Trimmel, blocked by the goalkeeper. In the final, the Neapolitans charge headlong in search of the three-point shot, but all the various attempts, including those of a wild Kvaratskhelia, are unsuccessful.