Napoli moved top of their Champions League group with a commanding performance against already eliminated Red Star Belgrade as Dries Mertens scored a brace at Stadio San Paolo.
Marek Hamsik put the hosts ahead, volleying in from close range after Nikola Maksimovic’s near post flick from a corner.
Mertens doubled Napoli’s lead 22 minutes later when he finished past Red Star goalie Milan Borjan from Mario Rui’s deflected cross.
Mertens grabbed his second of the night in the second half, netting his 100th Napoli goal to become the club’s all time leading scorer in Europe and the first Belgian to reach ten Champions League strikes in the process before Red Star pulled one back through El Fardou Ben.
Check out our roundup of the game below.
Key Talking Point
Napoli now have the upper hand in their Champions League group after their win and Paris Saint-Germain’s victory against Liverpool. As long as they avoid defeat by two goals at Anfield, the Serie A side will go through…so long as other results go their way too.
While a massive effort will be required for their performance in England, Carlo Ancelotti will be buoyed by the displays of both Kalidou Koulibaly and Raul Albiol. The former in particular will be crucial should Napoli hope to keep the famous Salah, Firmino and Mane attack quiet.
Starting XI: Ospina (6); Maksimovic (7), Albiol (7), Koulibaly (8), Rui (6); Callejon (8), Allan (8), Hamsik (9), Ruiz (7); , Mertens (9*), Insigne (6).
Substitutes: Hysaj (6), Zielinski (N/A), Rog (N/A).
STAR MAN – While Koulibaly was impressive at the back, Mertens was on top form at Stadio San Paolo.
His first finish was an instinctive effort, the kind of goal we’ve come to see from him in recent years, while he showed excellent control from Hamsik’s powerful pass to fire in his second.
WORST PLAYER – If there’s a weak link in Napoli’s current team, it’s probably left back Mario Rui.
Partonopei fans seem to view him as a liability and he wasn’t particularly impressive on the night as he lost of his battle with El Fardou Ben, even if the latter’s goal had little bearing on the final result.
Napoli will hope Serie A leaders Juventus drop points at the weekend before their trip to Atalanta on Monday. They face Liverpool in their final Champions League group stage game in December.