- Eintracht Frankfurt hosted Serie A leaders Napoli in the UEFA Champions League first leg on Tuesday night
- Both sides headed to the knockouts with a stunning display in the group stages
- It was the Serie A leaders who took the advantage heading into the second leg in Naples next month
Tuesday’s 2-0 victory over Eintracht Frankfurt with 10 men propelled Napoli a step closer to reaching their first UEFA Champions League quarterfinal.
Kevin Trapp stopped a Khvicha Kvaratskhelia penalty, and Victor Osimhen’s goal in the 40th minute at Deutsche Bank Park gave Napoli the lead in the first leg of their round of 16 match.
Before Giovanni Di Lorenzo scored to give Napoli a solid lead in the match, Randal Kolo Muani’s sent-off after 58 minutes only served to strengthen Napoli’s position.
Though it now seems like little can stop Luciano Spalletti’s Serie A leaders, Eintracht will have the chance to fight back on March 15 in Naples.
After a deft flick past Amir Rrahmani, Kolo Muani fired an early warning shot wide, but Napoli soon took control.
Their pressure eventually paid off when Hirving Lozano struck the right post and Aurelio Buta unnecessarily knocked down Osimhen inside the box. Trapp then dove to his right to stop Kvaratskhelia’s weak penalty.
Four minutes later, however, Napoli did get their due when Osimhen headed in a cross from Lozano’s right wing. Yet, the same combination was then denied a quick second by an offside flag.
After the break, Trapp saved a swerving Lozano shot before Kvaratskhelia missed a wonderful opportunity by chipping the ball straight at the advancing Eintracht goalkeeper. But, things got worse for Eintracht quickly enough.
Kolo Muani received a straight red for lunging at Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa, and Napoli took advantage. A deft Kvaratskhelia backheel found Di Lorenzo, who curled low into the lower left corner to give Napoli a two-goal lead.
Napoli in a routine win in Frankfurt
Under Oliver Glasner, Eintracht has only lost two of 19 matches in Europe, including only one in nine at home. This year, Napoli will present a very different challenge.
Eintracht had no answers once Spalletti’s hot team, who have won 20 of their last 23 Serie A games, regained their footing despite their poor start.
It will take something exceptional to stop the rampaging Partenopei this time because Napoli has never advanced past this round in the Champions League.
Osimhen in fine form
Osimhen’s outstanding play has sparked rumours of a transfer to Manchester United or Chelsea, but for the time being, he is focused on Napoli’s simultaneous quest for Serie A and Champions League supremacy.
The Nigerian international scored in six straight games, which is his longest streak for Napoli, without showing any signs of being distracted.
On Saturday, Napoli will travel to Empoli in the Serie A to resume play, while Eintracht will make a trip to RB Leipzig in the Bundesliga.