Sunday, November 18, 2018

Napoli 1-1 Paris Saint Germain: Insigne penalty ensures Group C remains wide open

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A second-half penalty from Lorenzo Insigne ensured Napoli drew 1-1 with Paris Saint Germain at the Stadio San Paolo in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday evening.

After a slow-burning first-half, it was the French champions who scored first as Juan Bernat fired in on the stroke of half-time. Carlo Ancelotti’s men were brilliant after the break and after missing a few glorious opportunities, equalised via an Insigne penalty, to leave Group C wide open going into matchday five.

Both sides produce half-chances

The first real opportunity of the game was produced by PSG’s front pairing, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe. The Brazlian looped a teasing ball into the youngster but he could not control his volley and blazed the ball over the bar.

A clever free kick from Napoli then gave Dries Mertens an opportunity but he flicked the ball just wide of the near post. Insigne then had a great opportunity as he spun and shot in the area but Thiago Silva did well to deflect the ball behind.

Bernat nets on the stroke of half-time

With the first-half really failing to have lightened up, Bernat struck the opening goal in the last second before half-time. Mbappe did brilliantly to jink away from Mario Rui and pulled the ball into the centre of the area. Bernat timed his run brilliantly to latch onto the cross and had to react quickly to stab the ball underneath David Ospina.

As a result of going behind, Carlo Ancelotti’s men called PSG stopper Gianluigi Buffon into action more in the second-half but the Italian was at his best. First, Nikola Maksimović played in a teasing low ball towards Dries Mertens and he looked to slot the ball home only for Buffon to stoop low to put the ball behind.

The Belgian then had time in the box and unleashed a powerful effort which the former Juventus stalwart somehow tipped over the bar. 

Tenacious defending from PSG

Those missed chances did not deter the hosts though and they kept pressing for an equaliser. Mertens combined well with Jose Callejon and the Spaniard looked sure to fire in from close range only for Thilo Kehrer to stick out a heroic leg.

The French side’s defence then came out on top once again as Callejon again found space at the back post. His volley was palmed away by Buffon before Mertens fired the ricochet over the crossbar. The Belgian was then halted by another spectacular close range save from Buffon.

Deserved equaliser from the spot

The Italians were then given the clearest opportunity to grab their equaliser as a horrific mistake from Thiago Silva saw Callejon nip in. He was taken down in the area and the referee pointed to the spot. Insigne was the one to step up and he fired into the bottom corner with a crisp finish.

Mbappe could have secured a late win but he put wide from just inside of the penalty area. As it happened though, the game ended all square as both sides claimed a point.

Final Thoughts

The match really was an intriguing watch. After a quiet first-half, Thomas Tuchel’s men livened up proceedings with his strike practically on the whistle. Napoli really were brilliant in the second-half and attacked with a lot of vigour. Allowing for the heroics of Buffon, the hosts could have claimed maximum points.

However, a draw was probably the correct results. Following Liverpool’s defeat to Red Star Belgrade earlier in the day, the four teams are now separated by two points going into matchday five.

Match Report

Napoli: Ospina (6); Maksimovic (7) (Hysaj (N/A), 76′), Albiol (6), Koulibaly (7), Rui (6); Callejon (7), Allan (7), Hamsik (6), Ruiz Pena (6) (Zielinski (6), 71′); Mertens (7) (Ounas (N/A), 83′), Insigne (7).

Paris Saint Germain: Buffon (8); Kehrer (6) (Choupo-Moting (N/A), 90+2′), Silva (7), Marquinhos (6); Bernat (7), Draxler (6), Verratti (7), di Maria (6) (Cavani (N/A), 77′), Meunier (6) (Kimpembe (5), 73′); Neymar (7), Mbappe (6).

Goals: Bernat (45+2′), Insigne PEN (62′)

Referee: Bjorn Kuipers

Yellow Cards: Mbappe (29′), Kehrer (32′), Ruiz Pena (45+3′), Verratti (89′), Neymar (90+1′)

Red Cards: N/A

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Daniel Orme


Daniel is currently a second-year football journalism student at the University of Derby. He has been freelance writing for approximately four years now and brings considerable experience. A season ticket holder at local club Leicester City, he witnessed the Foxes miraculously lifting the Premier League trophy in the 2015/16 campaign.

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