Napoli got a great result, beating 10-man Borussia Dortmund 2-1 with Gonzalo Higuain and Lorenzo Insigne stunners.
The Partenopei burst on to the Champions League scene against last year’s runners-up at a packed out Stadio San Paolo, which Coach Jurgen Klopp described as “a mystical experience.” Borussia had to do without Ilkay Gundogan, Sebastian Kehl and Lukasz Piszczek, while Jakub Blaszczykowski surprisingly started instead of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Lorenzo Insigne got the nod ahead of Goran Pandev for the Partenopei.
Napoli have not beaten a German side on home turf since Stuttgart in the 1989 UEFA Cup Final, though their overall record was five wins, three defeats and a draw with Bayern Munich in 2011.
Miguel Angel Britos ran a big risk in the opening minutes on Henrikh Mkhitaryan, while Lorenzo Insigne’s shot flashed across the face of goal.
Gonzalo Higuain burst forward and dribbled past one defender, but Neven Subotic performed a perfectly-timed tackle just inside the box as he was pulling the trigger.
Robert Lewandowski had a great chance on 25 minutes when he ran into the box and was denied by Pepe Reina’s knee at the near post, then Juan Camilo Zuniga did well to turn the Sven Bender follow-up over the bar.
It was Napoli who broke the deadlock on the half-hour mark with a splendid Higuain glancing header from six yards on Zuniga’s cross that flew into the far bottom corner. Klopp was livid and screamed at the Fourth Official, so was sent off for dissent.
A couple of Reus free kicks were disappointing for Borussia, while Higuain nodded wide from a free kick.
The Germans were forced into a substitution just before the break, as Mats Hummels hobbled off with a suspected hamstring strain to make way for striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
However, moments later Borussia were left with 10 men, as goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller sprinted out of the box to counter Higuain’s run and flapped the ball away with his hand. It was an inevitable straight red card. Mitchell Langerak came off the bench and his first job was to block a Higuain free kick.
Napoli poured forward trying to take advantage of the extra man, but both Higuain and Hamsik had shots charged down in quick succession. Insigne dribbled his way to the by-line and pulled back, but it was cleared on to Hamsik’s shins from five yards when he wasn’t expecting it.
Insigne went for goal himself and scored a sensational goal. The 21-year-old curled a free kick round the wall and into the very top corner, just off the underside of the bar where the goalkeeper had no chance.
Aubameyang nearly got Borussia Dortmund back into it moments later, as his long-range strike smacked against the crossbar past Reina’s flailing gloves.
Dries Mertens replaced Insigne and immediately tried to score with a free kick aimed at the near post from a tight angle, but Langerak was able to palm it away.
Borussia were able to get one back and set up a very tense finale, as Zuniga deflected a cross with his heel and it hit the inside of the upright to cross the line before Reina could flap it away.
The Germans had their tails up now despite being down to 10 men and Reina flew to palm out a Reus free kick.
Napoli 2-1 Borussia Dortmund
Scorers: Higuain 29 (N), Insigne 67 (N), Zuniga og 87 (B)
Napoli: Reina; Maggio, Albiol, Britos, Zuniga; Inler, Behrami; Callejon, Hamsik (Mesto 91), Insigne (Mertens 73); Higuain (Pandev 77)
Borussia Dortmund: Weidenfeller; Schmelzer, Subotić, Hummels (Aubameyang 44), Grosskreutz; Şahin, Bender; Reus, Mkhitaryan (Hoffmann 76), Blaszczykowski (Langerak 45+2); Lewandowski
Ref: Proenca (POR)
Sent off: Weidenfeller 45+1 (B)
Think you know your Italian football? Share your knowledge, tips and comments to win cash prizes in OLBG's tipster competition - £11,000 to be won monthly!