Napoli wasted chances and eventually had to ride their luck to beat SC Braga with Giovanni Di Lorenzo’s volley and an own goal, but start their Champions League campaign on the right foot.

The Partenopei had one point from their last two Serie A games, so were lacking in confidence after the transition to new coach Rudi Garcia. Braga lost home and away to Fiorentina last season in the Conference League.

Victor Osimhen should’ve opened the scoring within five minutes when he pounced on a poor Jose Fonte back-pass, but fired straight at Matheus.

The goalkeeper then made a stunning double save on headers from Osimhen and Giovanni Di Lorenzo in the same move.

However, Amir Rrahmani limped off with a muscular problem to make way for Leo Ostigard.

Osimhen went even closer with a scorcher from the edge of the area that cannoned against the crossbar, though Braga threatened on the counter from that same move with an Abel Ruiz header wide, then Ostigard got back for a toe-poke tackle on Ricardo Horta clear on goal.

Napoli were awarded a penalty when a shot was parried into the path of Osimhen, who could not get the tap-in because of Niakate, but after viewing it again on VAR, the referee saw that the Napoli striker crashed into the defender instead.

The Partenopei finally broke the deadlock on the stroke of half-time, as Osimhen knocked down a Kvicha Kvaratskhelia cross from the left and Di Lorenzo smashed it on the volley off the underside of the crossbar.

Abel Ruiz only grazed his head to a dangerous cross and Kvaratskhelia volleyed off target at the back post, while Osimhen’s scorcher flashed a few inches wide.

Napoli continued to push and Zielinski steered it across the face of goal with the inside of the boot rather than going for power, undisturbed at the back post.

It proved a costly error, because Braga equalised with one of their very few attempts on target, Napoli losing the ball cheaply playing out of defence and Zalazar’s cross finding the Bruma glancing header.

The game still wasn’t over and Napoli turned it around four minutes later, as Zielinski’s cross was redirected clumsily into his own net by Niakate from four yards.

Garcia’s men rode their luck with the final kick of the game, when Pizzi thumped the near post from the tightest of angles.

Braga 1-2 Napoli

Di Lorenzo 45 (N), Bruma 84 (B), Niakate og 88 (N)

20-09-2023 20:00
Matchday 1

Player statistic

1st half
    19' Yellow card Frank Anguissa
    41' Yellow card Victor Osimhen
Álvaro Djaló Yellow card 45'    
    45+1' Goal Giovanni Di Lorenzo
2nd half
José Fonte Yellow card 55'    
    56' Yellow card Matteo Politano
Cristian Borja Yellow card 66'    
    79' Yellow card Giacomo Raspadori
Bruma
(Assist: Rodrigo Zalazar)
Goal 84'    
    86' Yellow card Mathías Olivera
    88' Own Goal Sikou Niakaté
    90+3' Yellow card Juan Jesus

Match statistic

53
Possession %
47
16
Total shots
18
2
Shots on target
6
9
Shots off target
6
5
Blocked shots
6
11
Corners
10
1
Offsides
3
14
Fouls
12
Braga
Napoli

Starting lineups

1
Goalkeeper
26
Defender
85'
6
Defender
4
Defender
2
Defender
8
Midfielder
14
Midfielder
77'
18
Midfielder
67'
9
Attacker
86'
7
Attacker
21
Attacker
1
Goalkeeper
13
Defender
13'
22
5
Defender
17
Defender
99
Midfielder
20
Midfielder
90'
68
Midfielder
77
66'
21
Attacker
67'
9
Attacker
90'

Substitutes

20
Attacker
15
Defender
10
Midfielder
88
Midfielder
91
Goalkeeper
28
Midfielder
5
Defender
17
Defender
16
Midfielder
67'
23
Attacker
77'
19
Defender
85'
22
Midfielder
86'
6
Defender
70
Midfielder
16
Goalkeeper
14
Goalkeeper
59
23
Attacker
29
Midfielder
55
Defender
13'
7
Midfielder
66'
81
67'
18
Attacker
90'
3
Defender
90'
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