Real Madrid Coach Wary of Napoli


Real Madrid defeated Napoli 3-1 in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League round of 16 on Wednesday, claiming a precious lead at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium.

Holders Real, who are chasing a 12th European title and eyeing a seventh straight quarter-final appearance, will travel to Naples for the return leg on March 7.

He's been absent in many games and his numbers in La Liga are very poor, only scoring 5 goals in 16 games, very far from the 26 goals scored last season only in La Liga.

"I am always happy with him, said Zidane of Benzema".

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Zinedine Zidane had urged his side to keep a clean sheet to give them the best possible chance of going through, but those hopes were dashed after only eight minutes when Insigne embarrassed goalkeeper Keylor Navas with a stunning first-time effort from distance. Carvajal may have been the best, as Insigne plays very bad defence.

"The performances of Karim, Cristiano (Ronaldo), James (Rodriguez) they all made the rest of the team better".

Rather, it was the team's workhorse, the Brazilian midfielder Casemiro, who struck an awesome volley to complete a 3-1 victory over Napoli in the first leg of the encounter. It was Napoli boss Maurizio Sarri who had requested Maradona to speak to the players ahead of the match and it seemed to have worked with the visitors silencing the capacity crowd by taking an early lead.

Napoli started the second half on the front foot but Kroos made it 2-1 four minutes after the restart by steering a first-time shot past Reina from Ronaldo's inch-perfect right-wing cross.

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"We played a great game", said Zidane.

"We will nevertheless go to London with the same focus and preparation that we showed in this game". They came in Madrid's first two group games, against Sporting Lisbon and Borussia Dortmund respectively. "We have only a few chances now but we will try to give everything".

Firstly, Ronaldo played provider once more with a fine run down the right and measured cut-back for Kroos to slot home from the edge of the box.

"The important thing is that the team believe we can do it".

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"We got a lot of work done and no doubt there will be a lot more work to be done tomorrow as well".