Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Napoli vs Real Madrid - Competition: UEFA Champions League
Dries Mertens scored twice as Napoli beat rivals Roma 2-1 at the Stadio Olimpico last Saturday and reduced the gap from the Giallorossi to 3 points. Prior to that, they lost to Atalanta in Serie A and Juventus in the Coppa Italia. The Partenopei have won nine, drawn three and lost two league matches in front of their own supporters. In the Champions League group stage this season three home fixtures delivered a 4-2 win over Benfica, 3-2 defeat to Besiktas and 0-0 with Dynamo Kyiv.
Dries Mertens is a doubt with a calf problem, though should be fit to feature here. Arkadiusz Milik would be the substitute should the Belgian miss out. Midfielder Allan has recovered from a thigh injury and is available to play but he is likely to be benched as Maurizio Sarri is expected to play with Amadou Diawara, Piotr Zielinski and Marek Hamsik in midfield, behind the front trio that will surely include Lorenzo Insigne and Jose Callejon.       
Real Madrid team coasted to a 4-1 win over Eibar at the weekend and .head to Italy with a two-goal cushion thanks to a 3-1 first-leg victory at the Bernabeu. Zinedine Zidane's men will be wary of that goal they conceded on their home turf because away goals count double in this competition and they are yet to keep a clean sheet in the 2016/17 Champions League. They conceded 10 goals during the group stage – the joint worst record among the last 16.
Ronaldo has recovered from a knock and is expected to start while Gareth Bale is also available after missing the Eibar match through suspension. Raphael Varane is Zinedine Zidane's only injury issue ahead of their trip to Napoli, with Pepe partnering Sergio Ramos at the heart of the defence. Karim Benzema is likely to start as central forward while Luka Modric, Casemiro and Toni Kroos will play from the off in the middle of the park.
Probable lineups:
SSC Napoli: Reina – Hysaj, Albiol, Koulibaly, Ghoulam – Zielinski, Jorginho, Hamsik – Callejon, Mertens (Milik), Insigne
Real Madrid: Navas – Carvajal, Pepe, Ramos, Marcelo – Kroos, Casemiro, Modric – Bale, Benzema, Ronaldo.
Date: 7 March 2017
Kick-off Time: 19:45 GMT
Venue: Stadio San Paolo, Napoli 

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