‘Care­free’ ap­proach can help ner­vous Napoli

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS -

COACH Mau­r­izio Sarri says a more “care­free” ap­proach could help Napoli un­lock a Cham­pi­ons League last 16 place after a 3-2 de­feat at home to Be­sik­tas kept the Ital­ians wait­ing.

Napoli wel­comed the Turk­ish cham­pi­ons know­ing a third con­sec­u­tive Group B win, along with a Di­namo KievBen­fica draw, would se­cure en­try to the knock­out phase with three games to spare and set a new com­pe­ti­tion record.

But de­spite a promis­ing start at the San Paolo, the hosts were waste­ful in front of goal and paid the price for a glar­ing Jorginho blun­der that saw Cameroo­nian for­ward Vin­cent Aboubakar give the vis­i­tors a 2-1 lead by the 38th minute.

Manolo Gab­bia­dini, de­moted to the bench in place of Dries Mertens after 3-1 de­feat to Roma last week­end, struck the lev­eller on 69 min­utes after Lorenzo In­signe had missed the chance to equalise from the spot shortly after the restart.

But Napoli failed to cap­i­talise on fur­ther chances and paid the ul­ti­mate price when Aboubakar headed Ri­cardo Quaresma’s free­kick past Pepe Reina four min­utes from the end.

Be­sik­tas’ first group win since 2009 kept them in sec­ond place to sit just one point be­hind Napoli and they will be look­ing to re­launch their last 16 bid with a win next month.

Coach Senol Gunes said: “Now we have to face Napoli at home but it will be hard to get out of this group.”

De­feat for Napoli at the Voda­fone Arena in Is­tan­bul would spell dis­as­ter for the Az­zurri on their first ap­pear­ance in the group stages since 2013 when Walter Maz­zarri’s side were elim­i­nated be­hind Borus­sia Dort­mund and Ar­se­nal.

After their third con­sec­u­tive de­feat in all com­pe­ti­tions, Sarri says a more “care­free” ap­proach to their trade­mark flow­ing game could help set­tle nerves.

“We have to re­act and try to find a more care­free ap­proach to our game,” said Sarri.

“We had the right level ag­gres­sion and I saw some good stuff in at­tack, but we have to de­fend with a lit­tle more or­der.” – AFP

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