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Real Madrid flex Champions League muscles



Real Madrid flex Champions League muscles


Atwo-goal spurt in five minutes early in the second-half allowed Real Madrid to pull away from Napoli with a 3-1 victory in their Champions League Round of 16 first leg on Wednesday night at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu in Madrid.
Following an opener from Napoli's Lorenzo Insigne off a Keylor Navas error, Real took control and got goals from Karim Benzema, Toni Kroos and a wonder-strike from Casemiro to earn the victory and a comfortable advantage heading into next month's return leg in Italy.
Pre-match Real manager Zinedine Zidane made it abundantly clear that he wanted his team to attack Napoli early and often and that's what the French manager got. Even after the early deficit, Los Blancos swarmed Napoli and were dangerous going forward, especially on the counter-attack which could have easily yielded another goal or two for the hosts.
The most vital incorporation in chief Zidane's assault disapproved of beginning XI was that of James, who stretched out beyond forward Alvaro Morata. 
Else, it was as full-quality as Real could be without Gareth Bale, who is edging more like an arrival from injury.
Not even 30 seconds had ticked off the clock before Real had a turn the Napoli objective, as a Benzema shot required a response spare from Napoli goalkeeper Pepe Reina.But Napoli were unfazed and minutes after the fact the Italians took a dazzling lead because of the heads up play of Lorenzo Insigne. 
Marek Hamsik sifted in a ball for Insigne, who took a fast look at objective and saw Real goalkeeper Navas off his line, and after that speedily selected a spot to flame in a styler past the Costa Rican to hand Napoli an immense away objective and a 1-0 lead.
Genuine hoped to react and again it was Benzema given a possibility, however the striker took wide off a Ronaldo cut-back. 
In any case he would be skilled with another possibility on account of a fine cross from Dani Carvajal, who utilized the outside of his correct foot to select Benzema, and the Frenchman peeled off the back of previous Real man Raul Albiol and headed in from three yards out to draw Los Blancos level 1-1.Cristiano Ronaldo ought to have given Real a lead before the half-hour check when he was played in by a magnificent go from Luka Modric, yet the Portuguese was left becoming flushed in the wake of sending a shot to the heavens.
While Napoli had delighted in some fabulous touches and showed impeccable passing, they were on occasion excessively arrogant playing in their own end and were lucky that Real improved utilization of various giveaways. 
To book-end what was an engaging first-half, Benzema came surprisingly close to scoring his second objective of the night when a pinpoint Ronaldo cross from the correct hit the previous Lyon man in walk, yet Reina was ready and fell off his line and diverted Benzema enough that the shot hit the post.While Real couldn't take full favorable position of Napoli blunders in the primary half, they did as such at an opportune time in the second because of some incredible playmaking from Ronaldo. 
After a Napoli giveaway at midfield, the Portuguese got a ball down the privilege, moved past Napoli's Kalidou Koulibaly before reducing for Kroos, who terminated in through an ocean of legs to push Real on main 2-1.Minutes later the Bernabeu were recovered when Casemiro amazingly soared in a volley from outside the range to make it a 3-1 challenge. 
There was a redirection off a Napoli protector after a crash with James and the ball fell sweetly for the unheralded Brazilian, who thundered home past Reina.

Napoli were reeling and badly needed to shore up the defence, but at the same time show some bravery going forward. Dries Mertens could have given the visitors a much needed lift, but the Belgian international fired high over the crossbar after an excellent knockdown cross from former Blanco, Jose Maria Callejon.
Moments later Mertens had another look, but Navas, who wasn't at his best on Wednesday, did well to close down and block the shot. At the other end Reina then made another standout save, snuffing out a chance from James.
Real wanted a fourth goal to make Napoli's job in the return leg that much more difficult, but a failure to finish chances meant that Maurizio Sarri's men still had some hope for next month's clash at the Stadio San Paolo.
Real return to league action on Saturday when they host Espanyol.
- Match Sheet:
3.- Real Madrid: Keylor Navas; Carvajal, Varane, Ramos (Pepe, min. 71), Marcelo; Casemiro, Modric, Kroos; James (Lucas Vazquez, min. 76), Benzema (Morata, min. 81), Cristiano Ronaldo.
1.- Napoli: Reina; Hysaj, Albiol, Koulibaly, Ghoulam; Diawara, Zielinski (Allan, min. 75), Hamsik (Milik, min. 84); Insigne, Callejon, Mertens.
Goals: 0-1, min. 8: Insigne; 1-1, min. 18: Benzema; 2-1, min. 49: Kroos; 3-1, min. 54: Casemiro.
Referee: Damir Skomina (Slovenia).
Yellow Cards: Ramos (Min. 17) for Real Madrid, Zielinksi (Min. 38) for Napoli, Modric (Min. 52) for Real Madrid, Mertens (Min. 76) for Napoli.
Stadium: Santiago Bernabeu

Attendance: 81.000.

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