Berlin : Napoli staged a faultless performance on the road, stunning ten-men Eintracht Frankfurt 2-0 courtesy of goals from Victor Osimhen and Giovanni Di Lorenzo at the first leg of Champions League last 16 on late Tuesday night.
Napoli dominated possession in the opening period, but it’s the hosts that created the first real chance as Randal Kolo Muani unleashed a dangerous shot from a tight angle across the goal in the fifth minute.
The visitors lacked in penetration but came through in the 20th minute when Khvicha Kvaratskhelia forced Frankfurt goalkeeper Kevin Trapp into action, a Xinhua report said.
Napoli gained momentum and rattled the woodwork at the half-hour mark after Hirving Lozano fired a shot against the post from a promising position. Frankfurt’s defense couldn’t get a grip on Napoli’s strikers as Aurelio Buta conceded a penalty for a foul on Victor Osimhen moments later.
Kvaratskhelia stepped up but saw his attempt from the penalty spot palmed away by Trapp. Frankfurt’s goalkeeper was hapless in the 40th minute when Lozano whipped in a perfect cross into the box, allowing Osimhen to tap home the opener at the back post from very close range.
The Eagles couldn’t resist and had to thank their goalkeeper Kevin Trapp, who got the better of Kvaratskhelia following a one-on-one in the 57th minute. Things went from bad to worse for Frankfurt as Kolo Munai was sent off with a straight red card following a foul on Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa at the hour mark.
Napoli capitalized on its numerical advantage five minutes later as Kvaratskhelia’s back-heel pass inside the area found Giovanni Di Lorenzo, who finished off a fine combination with a well-placed shot into the far post bottom corner to make it 2-0 on the scoreboard.
Outnumbered, Frankfurt showed signs of life in the closing stages, but Napoli goalkeeper Alex Meret was equal to Daichi Kamada’s strike following a counterattack. “We tried everything, but it was an unlucky course of the game for us.
The red card, while being one goal down, killed the game. There is still one game to go,” said Frankfurt midfielder Mario Gotze. With the result, Frankfurt will have to turn around a two-goal deficit at Napoli in the second leg on March 15.
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