Napoli defeated Nice by the two-goals-to-nothing in the second-leg match of this year’s UEFA Champion League play-off inside Allianz Riviera in France. The Seria representatives were able to score the same number of goals that they scored in the first encounter in Naples , thus advancing to the group stage of the competition on a four-goals-to-nothing aggregate.
Napoli completely denied the home team the opportunities to launch their offensive in the first half of the match, this they achieved by retaining the ball in their possession for a long spell in the first half of this match. And had Napoli’s players converted the chances they created in the first half : they would have been ahead with at least two goals.
Dries Mertens should have scored for his side in the eleventh minute of the game, but Nice’s goalkeeper Yoan Cardinale deflected his goal-bound shot out of play.
Napoli’s attacking trio of Lorenzo Insigne, Dries Mertens, Jose Maria Callejon proved extremely difficult for the home team to curtail.
Mertens shot the ball wide off the goalpost after dribbling into the eighteen yard of the opponent in the twenty fifth minute of the match.
The passing game of Napoli was so efficient that Nice’s mid-fielders were unable to feed passes to their lone striker, Mario Balotelli.The few times the Italian striker received the ball in the opponent’s half, he was swiftly crowded upon and dispossessed of the ball.
The brightest spot in Nice’s game in this half was Maxime Le Marchand; he occasionally prised opened the seemingly water-tight Napoli’s defensive formation with his dribbling skills and lightning pace.
The dying minutes of the first half saw Insigne goal-bound curling shot from inside the eighteen yard box deflected out of play by a Nice’s defender; and Callejon also shot wide from inside the eighteen yard box in the only minute of additional time.
The second half was a more explosive affair; the home team was able to gain a slight advantage in ball possession and had few scoring chances which they failed to convert.
Napoli scored two minutes after the resumption of the second half through Jose Callejon. The Spaniard smashed into the net a weighted pass from Hamsik from the left flank.
Mertens almost doubled the lead two minutes later when his shot hit the goalpost.
Both sides made changes to their line –up as the game moved towards its end.
Nice’s second half substitute, Vincent Marcel, almost equalized for Nice in the eighty third minute of the game. The Nice’s mid-fielder latched onto a misplaced pass outside Napoli’s eighteen yard box, turned on-rushing Raul Abiol inside-out only to have his final shot save by Pepe Reina.
Insigne, who had been unlucky in front of the goal since the commencement of the match, scored Napoli’s second goal in the eighty eighth minute of the game. A pass from the left flank from Faouzi Ghoulam was collected and superbly controlled by Insigne before he shot the ball into the far corner of the net.
Napoli with this victory now proceed to the group stage of this year’s UEFA Champions League competition with a 4-0 goal aggregate over their French opponent.