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Napoli 3 Shakhtar Donetsk 0: Insigne stunner helps keep knockout hopes alive

21 November 2017 22:42

Napoli breathed life into their Champions League campaign as a trio of second-half goals sealed a 3-0 home win over Shakhtar Donetsk on Tuesday.

Needing three points to have any chance of advancing from Group F, the Serie A leaders turned on the style after half-time to move within three points of the second-placed Ukrainian outfit - and crucially secure a superior head-to-head record.

The hosts had Lorenzo Insigne to thank for leading them out of a first-half slumber as the Italy forward broke the deadlock with a superb curling effort shortly before the hour.

Insigne's strike proved to be the inspiration Napoli needed to take control at Stadio San Paolo, as they put a crucial result beyond doubt with two goals in quick succession.

Piotr Zielinski first capped a tidy one-two with Dries Mertens in the 81st minute before the Belgium star got on the scoresheet himself, nodding in from close-range.

Maurizio Sarri's men must still beat Feyenoord in two weeks' time and hope Shakhtar lose at home to Manchester City, although the Premier League side have little to play for after making top spot safe.

An end-to-end first half began with Andriy Pyatov bailing out Shakhtar inside the first minute, the goalkeeper quick off his line to smother after Jose Callejon was found in behind by Insigne.

But the visitors soon showed their intent and twice went close through Taison. The Brazil international first fired over from the edge of the area and should have made the next chance count, poking the wrong side of the near post at close-range following a fine pass from Fred.

Pyatov again came to his side's rescue shortly before the half-hour when he flew to his left to turn Insigne's curling effort around the upright.

Opportunities continued to flow as Marlos, having lost Elseid Hysaj with a classy drag-back, stung the palms of Pepe Reina from inside the area.

And the home side needed Reina to push away one final shot from Fred to somehow keep scores level at the interval.

Needing inspiration, Napoli got exactly that from Insigne in the 56th minute. The Italy man drifted inside from the left and bent a wonderful curling strike into the top right corner to break the deadlock.

Sarri's side began to take control of the contest and their improvement should have been reflected with a second goal 21 minutes from time.

Bogdan Butko sold Pyatov into trouble with a short backpass that was picked off by Mertens, but Zielinski side-footed the lay-off over a vacant net.

The Poland midfielder soon atoned for his error, doubling his side's lead in the 81st minute following a classy one-two with Mertens.

And the result was put to bed two minutes later, Mertens nodding in at point-blank range after Pyatov could only parry Raul Albiol's powerful header from a corner.

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Tuesday 12 December

Monday 11 December

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Sunday 10 December

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Serie A table

# Team MP D P
1 16 +23 40
2 16 +25 39
3 16 +27 38
4 15 +17 35
5 15 +17 32
6 15 +8 27
7 16 +2 24
8 16 +0 23
9 16 +7 22
10 16 -1 21
11 16 -9 21
12 15 +2 20
13 15 -1 18
14 16 -11 17
15 16 -18 14
16 15 -7 13
17 16 -20 12
18 16 -13 11
19 16 -18 10
20 16 -30 1

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