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Napoli - Operation Domination

Started on 9 April 2014 by Aaron
Latest Reply on 13 August 2014 by Walter
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Very nice kits! I'll follow this season more closely, as I really like Italian football:)

Chinese tour a success


It's been a few days since the return of Napoli after their trip to China, and they will be on a high for their super cup final match against A.C. Milan after a sucessfull tour of the country.

They first played Renhe, in a 50,000 capacity stadium on a hot summers day, that had no effect on the team however as they ran riot on return back to football with each other.
Higuain got the team off to a good start in the sixth minute with a header that nearly ripped open the net after a cross from Insigne was whipped in.

Stanciu then took his chance from a free kick and blistered the keeper with a rifling shot from 30 yards which ultimately gave his team a 2-0 lead. Just two minutes later, the set piece specialist inside of Insigne awoke and hit a knuckle ball shot past the keeper and into the top corner making it 3-0.

Three minutes into the second half, Renhe got themselves one back, when a cross from their right winger beat both Balanta and Juan Jesus to meet Rafa Jorda who was on the other end to head it lightly past a scrambling Koen Casteels.

Balanta made it four, and later on in the game Nicola Murru ended the game with a brilliant finish. An quick cross from Stanciu was attacked again by Balanta but was thwarted this time, headed back in by Carvalho, but for a second time back out, but this time only to Murru who vollyed it into the top corner from the edge of the box to round his first game off with a win and a beautiful goal.

Their second game of pre season was almost as good, attacking prowess and total domination was once again on show to see out a well earned 3-1 win. Two Insigne goals and a blasting header from Balanta who did well to get on the end of a Hamsik cross. Liaoning got their own goal of the game which will no doubt send them home happy, Kevin Oris, was sent through on goal and took a chance with the chip making it 3-1 late on in the game.

Napoli rounded off their tour with another win and this time a clean sheet, the first goal of the game came in the 30th minute from Higuain who darted past three Shenxin defenders before passing it into the bottom corner.

The second was scored again by the Argentine late on in the second half. A cross from Hamsik was headed out of goal and Inler headed it back on the floor to his team mate Higuain who turned and shot past the Shenxin keeper who no doubt could have done much better.

Pre-season thoughts

Roberto Baggio: "I think this tour has been a success. I think I was right in making my decision to head off to China and I'm glad I did. It was nice to experience their culture and the trip outside of football was really interesting. The team got to know theme selves a little better and we found out things we never knew about our play. I think this will really help us next season."

Marek Hamsik: "The tour was a real success. The team now knows each other really well, and their is a real togetherness in the squad now. We have put some really attractive football on show on this trip and I can't wait to show it in the Serie A. I know it wasn't just because we were up against smaller teams, it's because we're a good team, and we will definitely show that off next season no matter what the outcome at the end of the campaign."
Congrats on winning Serie A mate! And good luck this season.

defensive calamity's cost Napoli dear

A highly successful pre-season was now completed and out of the way and now Napoli would face a much bigger test. The celebrations of the Serie A 2014 win would lead the Azzurri on to an Italian Super cup final where they would take on A.C. Milan in the cup final crunch match.

Napoli started off well, with real intent to win. They attacked from the whistle. Attack, attack attack was the way Napoli were thinking and the frustration of their strong start got to dutch midfielder Nigel De Jong as he munched Fiamozzi with a two footed tackle. He was sent off, and his team mates payed the price as the long free kick was swung in by Fiamozzi and nodded home by Juan Jesus!

Napoli were now a goal to the good and getting stronger by the minute. there was no hope for Milan. All the way up to the half time whistle it was wave after wave of attack, each one was somehow cleared out and amazingly Milan kept Napoli at bay, and did really well to do so.

As the second half approached, Milan fans would sense even more nervousness now. It was almost certain their team would miss out on the Super Cup, unless they pulled off something special...Or unless Napoli let something special happen. And didn't they do just that.

Five minutes in to the second half, Matuidi was walked for a nasty challenge on Niang, and that's where the collapse of Napoli's stunning performance began. It did take more than 15 minutes to do so, but after the red card Milan drove back at the Partenopei, and managed to nick themselves a scruffy goal which ended up being prodded home by El Shaarway to level the scores.

On 83 minutes Napoli fell apart again. Baggio made no change to take away the pressure of the red card, and Napoli's midfield was left bare, which was clear to see when Milan ripped it open once more and had El Shaarway on his bike down the right side of the box to net the winner in to the far bottom corner.

Two minutes on, and Milan had suffered from another red card after Mexes horror tackle on Hamsik. Napoi threw everything forward to try and get that all important goal, but it just wasn't to be. They failed to make their chances pay and in the end payed the price.

A.C Milan had lifted the Italian Super cup...But weren't they ever so lucky to do so. Napoli, however will no doubt be disappointed. But Baggio will keep their heads high and as long as he can do that, a good start to the season is inevitable.
Good to see Maldini doing a John Terry and putting his kit on for a game he didn't play ;) Haha great update mate but seriously unlucky in the Super Cup. You'll defo bounce back!
Ouch Aaron, looks like a hard game there. I see two red cards. :(
Bad luck mate...maybe Matuidi should get a fine!

August - Starting Strong

The new Serie A season is now finally among us and we are now heading into the third game of the campaign. Firstly though, before we head into it, let's take a look at the first to game that Napoli took part in.

The first game came against Parma who would be hosting the show to the current title holders. Napoli have a good record against this fairly solid Parma side, but nonetheless it would certainly be difficult to overcome them.

Both sides were just as good as one another in some aspects. Other aspects, it was just Napoli who completely dominated. The Azzurri did take possession of most of the ball throughout this game and it would have been a shame to not see at least one shot hit the back of the net, so luckily we were able to get a nice viewing of Elder Alvarez Balanta's powerful header hit the roof of the net.

The 6.2'ft Colombian leaped up high to connect with one of Hamsik's crosses from a corner, and he managed to direct it sweetly into the roof of the net, beating the keeper all day long to put his side in the lead.

Napoli went on to win the game, but with just the one goal from their ever present young defender, Balanta. That goal would mean a first three points for the season in their first game and would put them on the right track to glory.

The second game that the sky blues had to undergo was against Cagliari, but this time in the Sao Paulo. This would be a whole new challenge. Not for Napoli, but for their opponents. Cagliari had just recently triumphed over Chiveo in a game that ended 2-0 to the Rossoblú.
So now they would have to come off the back of that and play the best team in Italy at this time.

It certainly was a completely different situation after this match. Napoli came out victorious with a huge win. Nicusor Stanciu bulged the net two minutes into the game when Dries Mertens ended his super run down the left flank with a cross to Hamsik who touched the ball down on the byline and lobbed it across goal to the Romanian who hit the ball into the empty net.

We waited 40 minutes for the second goal which came from main striker Gonzalo Higuain. With a great tackle on Cagliari's left winger, Aurier released the ball to his creative teammate Stanciu and he lifted the ball in the air which fell to the feet of Higuain.
Higuain dropped his shoulder and let the ball fall to his feet as he got away from his marker, and he as it fell with one touch he slid it into the right bottom corner. A goal created out of nothing. That's what he can do when on form.

It only took another three minutes for Napoli to get another. Stanciu whipped in a corner from the right side of the pitch and Cagliari were penalized for a supposed handball incident. Dries Mertens stepped up to the spot and coolly tucked the ball away.

Twenty minutes into the second half, Napoli increased their scoreline with a second goal from Dries Mertens who this time bent a free kick into the top right hand corner, instead of placing a spot kick into the net.

Another few minutes passed and we were to see yet another goal hit the net, but finally from the Rossoblú. Toro made a darting run down the same flank Mertens did for Napoli's first goal. He pulled the ball back though to the edge of the box and Brazilian attacking midfielder Adryan nutted the ball back in the direction of the goal. Keeper had that one covered, but when Saú, Cagliari's striker helped it on over him, he certainly didn't then. 4-1 was the score now.

It was little too late for them though and just before 90 minutes was up, Mertens completed his hattrick. Hojbjerg held the ball in the middle of the Cagliari half, and moved it forward to bertolacci. The solid midfielder then slipped in the flying Dutchman, and he belted it into the top corner.

Thoughts On The Report

Baggio: I think our first two games of this season have been a fantastic way to start what we hope will be a great year. We lost to a weak A.C. Milan side in the Super Cup, and yes they were weak! Admittedly I am very bitter at the way we lost in that game, but that has no baring on my opinion over their squad. It is a weak one. Anyway...Despite losing that, we have bounced back remarkably and I am very proud of the team.

Hamsik: This was a great way to start our campaign. We have passed the two games with flying colors and I expect more from my teammates in future games. We have a good bunch of lads here, very capable of winning anything you put in front of them. I am very happy we have won these first two games. I believe there will be glory for us at the end of the season. Especially if we play like we have been.

Note: Now, I know what you guys are thinking. Why is he writing for this again? Well, I am bringing the story back. Simple. I have said this before, and I know none of you will believe me but my Liverpool story WILL carry on. I feel I have unfinished business with Napoli and no matter what anyone says, I can and will two stories up.

Thanks for reading, enjoy!!
YESS! Great to see this story back, and great start! :D
Neal: Enjoyed it did you? :P Good, because it'll only get better! :D

Champions League Groups Drawn

Last year, Napoli stormed the Champions League group stages along with Manchester City, qualifying with 14 points each, doing the double over both Benfica and Shakthar whilst drawing twice 2-2 with each other.

The second round brought disappointment to the Italians though. They were drawn against City's counterparts Manchester united and were smashed to pieces over the two legged tie. 6-2 on aggregate was the final score and they crashed out early.

We're back to drawing out the eight groups of four though, where we will see which teams will oppose which. Who will Napoli get? Maybe Manchester City? Maybe Bayern Munchen, or maybe even the current European Champions Barcelona who beat Manchester united 3-1 in last years final.

Well, here they all are then. Group A to H in full.
Group A: Manchester United, Juventus, Leverkusen, Legia.
Group B: Arsenal, Grasshoppers, Braga, Paris Saint Germain.
Group C: Bayern Munich, Shakthar, BATE, CSKA Moscow.
Group D: Barcelona, Mons, Galatasaray, Benfica.
Group E: Chelsea, Olympiakos, Dinamo, Stuttgart.
Group F: Celtic, Valencia, Zenit, Lazio.
Group G: Machester City, Napoli, Monaco, Real Madrid.
Group H: Dortmund, Porto, Kobenhavn, Groningen.

So yes, Napoli have been drawn into a group with Manchester City. The fans and players will have preferred a new challenge this time round, but that will be the least of their concerns as they will also have to play Real Madrid and Monaco. Group G, AKA The group of death, will be the group which Napoli will have to try their best to progress from.

Can they? Leave your predictions below!
What. A. Group. This'll be very hard!
That is one very, very tough group. If you can get out of that you deserve a medal, a Champions League winners medal ;) Good luck, you'll definitely need it.

September - Champions League Underway!

After a fantastic start to the Serie A, the current league Champions were back to face up to Empoli at the Carlo Castellini and it was time for another trouncing as the Azzurri came to demolish the newly promoted side at their door step.

Baggio's side got a little lucky in the second half when Empoli's centre back Elseid Hysaj got his name on the score sheet not just once but twice...For the wrong team. The Azzurri were now up in front 2-0 with five minutes to go.

Empoli had themselves a penalty awarded late on, their chance to get back into the game wasn't taken though, and their striker Antonio Flores would be left to regret his miss. Casteels caught the ball from the spot kick and quickly punted the ball up the field to Moura who ran down his right flank and crossed from deep to an on coming Marek Hamsik who dove in for the header and nearly took the net off the woodwork with such a powerful shot.

They had been waiting around a year for this next game. Finally back in the Champions League, Napoli would be looking to start the group stages with a bang and over come Monaco in this big big match.

They didn't get off to a start they would have hoped in this one, because new signing Morgan Schneiderlin netted a complete wonder goal for his team in the third minute of the game, leaving the Napoli fans and players angered. Falcao broke away from Juan Jesus a few minutes later and the defender just couldn't keep up with the Colombians increasing speed. The former Atletico Madrid man ran onto Joao Moutinho's through ball and he lightly chipped the ball over Casteels to double their lead.

Ten minutes later, Marek Hamsik gave his side a glimmer of hope when his effort from a 30 yard free kick stunned the entire stadium and rippled the roof of the net. A little after the second half began, he turned that glimmer of hope into a point for his team as he placed a shot into the top left of the Monaco net from just inside the box, Gaining his team a draw.

Napoli would get their third game of the month underway disappointingly. Pescara's Ante Vukusic brought joy to his teams fans when he headed in a cross from his fellow teammate Ferdinando Sforzini who notched up his third assist for the season.

Hamsik rallied the boys round and started to play like the real Napoli. The best Napoli. It took long time for them to draw level though, but thankfully they did and with Higuain getting the goal 15 minutes away from the final whistle.

It all looked as if we were settled for a draw, but very late on, in the dying embers of the game, Nicusor Stanciu popped up with a headed goal which was created by one of Rodrigo Gomez' cross.A minute left on the clock, but Napoli had still managed to see themselves win another three points.

Fiorentina and Napoli encounters rarely disappoint. At least they never did last season as we witnessed a total of eight goals bulge the net in this fixture in just two games. This game did not fail to excite either as we watched either side hit two goals a piece.

Napoli had to come back from being 1-0 down for the third time in a row. Josip Illic was sent through on goal by Emmanuelson. He took his chance well and volleyed into the roof of the net.
Napoli were back from the dead ten minutes later. Higuain drew his team level from a cross which was drilled low and hard into the box. ll he had to do was tap it in, and he did just that.

Borja Valero put Fioro back into the lead again just before half time, he was set up by the first goal scorer Illic and Valero connected well to score from inside of the Napoli box.
It took another ten minutes, but Mr.Reliable, Dries Mertens made the score 2-2 from a free kick.

Napoli could only salvage a point. It was a shame to see them miss out on all three, but they would just need to push on now and keep fighting for every point they have been, and they did that against Roma, except they went and swept them off their feet with a dominant 3-1 win.

Lucas Moura and Balanta got the first two goals of the game in the first half. Moura scoring from the wing, with what looked like it was a cross. He whipped the ball in but sliced it and luckily for him it ended up lobbing the keeper. It was a fluke, but no doubt a great goal as well.

Gennaro Tutino, one of few Napoli players to make it up through the ranks and into their first team. Actually scored here to make the score 3-0. He was subbed on in the 67th minute and a minute later, scored with his first touch smashing the ball into the top right corner, beating the keeper at his near post.
Gervinho got Roma's consolation, but unfortunately for them that's all it was.

Back in the Champions League for the last game of the month, Napoli were off to an emphatic start against City as their little Brazilian right winger, Lucas Moura scored the goal to put the Partenopei into the lead against the English based side.

It was all to real though, and expectedly City did scored but sadly before Napoli could get their second. Vincent Kompany scored the header to equalize. The goal couldn't have been possible without David Silva's wonderful ball into the box from the corner.

Late in the game, Napoli were dominating but they seemed to get a bit to carried away with attacking as City parked the bus. The Citizens won the ball from Higuain and countered quickly. Fernandinho picked up the ball in his own half and played the ball over to James Milner. The ball beat every defender and reached the Englishman who dashed the Napoli fans' hopes by scoring the winner.

Thoughts On The Report

Baggio: This month could have been better. We dropped a few points to Monaco and Fiorentina. Both big teams, boith solid defensively and offensively. We just need to keep battling on for every point like we have done to come back from being on the back foot.

We got some good points against Roma, Empoli, and Pescara. So thankfully we kept up at the top of the table in the Serie A. We just need to hope we can get some better results in the Champions League.

Hamsik: The boss thinks we could have done better. In the league, yes we could have. We were disappointing against Fiorentina but we were unlucky in the Champions League.

Sadly, I can't see a way back from this in the Champions League so I think we will have to hope for a good result against Monaco soon, and hope they lose their other games so that we get into the Europa League and keep competing in Europe.
Very detailed update! Nice layout, too.

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