Besiktas has continued its undefeated streak on Tuesday night, when they hosted the Italian team Napoli at the Vodafone Arena in Istanbul. After suffering a tough 2:3 home loss to the Turkish side two weeks ago, the Italians were determined to recover quickly and regain their confidence and they wanted to start off with a positive result against Besiktas.
Napoli’s coach Maurizio Sarri has made some changes to the roster hoping to refresh the lineup and improve the teams play, which was under fire because of the poor results as of lately. It seemed that the roster changes were a good decision by Sarri, as his team opened up the match with a lot of determination to push forward and score an early goal.
They came close in the 11th minute when Manolo Gabbiadini unleashed a shot to the middle of the goal from a close range, but his shot was saved by Agosto Fabri (Besiktas).
The two teams exchanged with attacks on both sides, waiting for the opponent to make a mistake. It was the host who saw a scoring opportunity in the 30th minute as Atiba Hutchinson failed to score from inside the box as his fierce strike hit the left post.
The fans at the Vodafona Arena didn’t saw a whole lot of the action in the first 45 minutes of the match, and it is safe to say that this scenario was expected, just as we have predicted, and the referee Mark Clattenburg blew the whistle to signal the end of the first 45 minutes.
Jose Maria Callejon (Napoli), who has already collected 7 goals in Seria A, was the first one to threaten the hosts’ goal in the 56th minute when he received a nice ball around the penalty area and fired a shoot towards the goal, but his shot sailed far wide of the left post. The visitors continued to push forward and it seemed that they were on the edge of scoring a goal first in the match. In the 69th minute the visitors saw a nice chance once again, as Lorenzo Insigne fired a flashing strike towards the goal, but the ball ended just over the goal.
Despite the visitors noticeable initiatives to score first, the hosts never pulled back and were patiently awaiting their scoring chances. The chance came in the 78th minute when the referee Mark Clattenburg pointed towards the penalty spot, after Nikola Maksimovic (Napoli) handled the ball inside his own box. It was a clear penalty, and Ricardo Quaresma stepped forward and executed the penalty kick confidently, putting his team upfront 1:0, only 11 minutes to go!!!
However, it was Napoli’s captain, Marek Hamsik who ended the joy of home supporters and saved his team from yet another disastrous defeat. Hamsik scored a brilliant late goal in the 82nd minute, as he unleashed a deadly strike from around 22 meters, finding the inside of the left post and securing.
Mertens and Insigne both tried their luck from distance during the final minutes of the match, but the score remained unchanged and the referee signaled the end of the match.
Despite only seeing 2 goals on the match, the fans could be more than delighted with the performance of both teams who provided a very attractive football. With a 1:1 draw, both teams have kept their chances of reaching the knock-out stage, especially with Benfica taking a win at home against Dynamo Kiev.
The current situation after 4 rounds in Group B:
- Napoli – 7 points
- Benfica – 7 points
- Besiktas – 6 points
- Dynamo Kiev – 1 point