Real Madrid came from behind to secure a 3-2 victory over Napoli in an entertaining Champions League encounter at Stadio Diego Armando Maradona this evening.
An opening goal by Vinicius Junior, followed by a moment of Jude Bellingham brilliance and a Federico Valverde long-range effort, kept Madrid’s perfect record in the competition intact.
Napoli fought hard to secure a 2-1 win over Braga in their first Champions League outing of the season and were bidding to earn their first win over Real Madrid in four previous meetings in this competition, but it was not to be.
After sneaking a last-gasp win over Union Berlin in week one of this year’s Champions League group stages, Carlo Ancelotti returned to the stadium where he was manager until 2019, this time in the opposing dugout.
The opening quarter of an hour was fairly even, with both sides creating a few half chances, but it was the hosts that drew first blood after Natan’s header from Piotr Zielinski’s left-sided corner hit the crossbar, but Leo Skiri Ostigard seized the rebound, overpowering two Madrid defenders to open the scoring.
However, The Blues’ lead was short-lived as the visitors struck back within eight minutes of going behind when Bellingham surged into the penalty area to set up Vinicius, who slotted his shot cooly past Alex Meret.
While Bellingham was not brought to Madrid specifically to replace the departed Karim Benzema, that is exactly what the 20-year-old seems to be doing as he got his eighth goal in nine matches for Los Blancos with a superb solo run 10 minutes before the break.
The England international, who also scored against Scotland during the international break, picked up the ball near the halfway line and strode into the box, taking four opponents with him, before finishing in the bottom-right corner.
That goal also earned the former Borussia Dortmund man a piece of club history as he became only the third Madrid player to score in his first two Champions League matches, following Christian Karembeu in the late 1990s and Cristiano Ronaldo back in 2009.
Real grabbed the winner with just over 10 minutes left when Federico Valverde’s thunderbolt of a shot cannoned off the crossbar and went in via the back of goalkeeper Alex Meret.
The victory puts Carlo Ancelotti’s side at the top of Group C with six points from their opening two games, having beaten Union Berlin 1-0 in their first outing.
Napoli – who had gone 14 games unbeaten at home in the Champions League – are second and only clear of third-placed Braga on head-to-head after beating the Portuguese side 2-1 last month. Braga came from two goals down to win 3-2 at Union Berlin earlier on Tuesday.