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Real Madrid rallies to defeat Napoli in a five-goal thriller

Real Madrid rallies to defeat Napoli in a five-goal thriller

In their Champions League Group C match on Tuesday, Real Madrid rallied to defeat Napoli 3-2, with the Italian team's goalkeeper Alex Meret conceding an awful own goal late in the second half to seal the victory for the Spaniards.

Real Madrid rallies to defeat Napoli in a five-goal thriller

Leo Ostigard's header for Napoli was offset by goals from Vinicius Jr. and Jude Bellingham for Real in the first half, but the Italian team was even by a Piotr Zielinski penalty early in the second.

In the 78th minute, Federico Valverde's long-range drive gave Real the lead when it deflected off Meret's flailing head and into his own net after striking the crossbar.

Real leads Napoli and Braga by three points in Group C after two games and six total points. With nil points, Union Berlin is at the bottom.

While there were ruffled nerves at the game's conclusion, Real got out to a solid start with Vinicius and Bellingham troubleshooting the hosts' defense.

In his second game back after missing more than a month due to a leg injury, Vinicius looked dynamic and frequently found Bellingham as they reestablished their early-season camaraderie.

Both teams had scoring opportunities in the opening minutes, but Napoli eventually took the lead with a header from Ostigard in the 19th minute after Real Madrid goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga mishandled a corner that was floated into a packed six-yard box.

However, the visitors came back with goals from Vinicius and Bellingham in the final seven first-half minutes.

In the 27th minute, Vinicius scored a spectacular angled goal into the far corner after Bellingham first intercepted a poor pass by Napoli defender Giovanni Di Lorenzo outside of their penalty area.


With a brilliant attempt, Bellingham gave Real the lead against Napoli in the 34th minute. Bellingham outran three players before directing a neat finish beyond the goalie and into the bottom left corner.

However, Napoli fought back into the match early in the second half, and Zielinski's penalty, given for a handball by defender Nacho following a VAR assessment, leveled the score in the 54th minute.

After the ball seemed to ricochet off Nacho's boot and strike his left hand as he slid in to make a tackle, referee Clement Turpin initially rejected the penalty requests and allowed play on. Real's players and coach Carlo Ancelotti were incensed by the decision and yelled angrily at Turpin.

"I don't see it as a punishment. You can't just chop the player's hand off because it was a bounce off his foot, Ancelotti told Movistar Plus.

The home team battled for the victory despite being encouraged by their supporters in a sold-out Diego Maradona stadium. Khvicha Kvaratskhelia's shot went just wide, while Arrizabalaga made three excellent stops on close-range shots from Victor Osimhen.

But Luka Modric, a seasoned midfielder, came off the bench late in the contest to energize Real Madrid.

He started by handing it to Bellingham, who wasted a clear-cut opportunity from close range in the 75th minute.

Three minutes later, Valverde's long-range attempt from Valverde's corner reached the back of the net off Meret's head.

"Modric has performed well. We needed greater control, and he provided that for us when we needed it with his skill and expertise, according to Ancelotti.


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