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Serie A Champions League Review: Napoli run trail blazing, Milanese clubs succumb

With the first week of Champions League reaching a curtain closure, here is a round up of the outcomes regarding the Serie A clubs under the lights of the mid-week fixtures.

Juventus cave in at the Parc Des Princes

Despite Allegri alternating his tactical set-up to a 3-5-2 ahead of Juventus’ highly anticipated fixture against the Ligue 1 giants PSG, the Bianconeri struggled immensely to cope with the speed of the capital club’s front-line.

A magnificent lobbed pass above the back-line from Brazilian winger Neymar caught the newly-arrived defender Gleison Bremer completely off-guard, paving the way for Kylian Mbappe to make a well-timed run in-behind the defence. The 23 year-old displayed his world-class finishing ability as he struck a venomous volley into the far low-corner to break the deadlock within the opening five minutes.

Galtier’s men showed no signs of slowing down as the wing-back Achraf Hakimi executed a perfect one-two passing combination with Mbappe in order to break the Old Lady’s lines, allowing the French international marksman to obtain a brace against Allegri’s side.

Despite Weston Mckennie scoring a brilliant header from a set piece after shortly coming on within the second half, a lack of finishing within the final third forced Juventus to return to Turin with zero points collected.

Milan share spoils in Salzburg

Things did not start according to plans for Pioli’s side as a poor giveaway from the central midfielder Ismael Bennacer allowed Fernando to initiate a deadly counter attack and dice a marvellous pass to his compatriot up-top Noah Okafor.

The 22 year-old burst with pace and dazzled through his marker with his exquisite dribbling skills, leaving Pierre Kalulu on the floor, and sealed the opener with a curler passed Mike Magnan.

The Rossonerri bounced back as the 24 year-old Algerian midfielder redeemed himself with a well-weighted pass into space for Rafael Leao. The Portuguese rising star shifted third gear along the flanks and distributed a well-placed cross for Alexis Saelemaekers to tuck the ball into the back of the net and hand his side the equalizer.

Despite Milan continuously pushing forward, the defending Serie A champions were forced to settle with a stalemate within their opening Champions League fixture.

Inter continue to lick their wounds

Although Inzaghi made significant changes within the starting eleven in the hopes of potentially shifting the tide of their underwhelming start to this year’s campaign, Inter’s defensive struggles remained evident against Bayern Munich.

The Bundesliga giants broke the ice as the deep-lying play-maker Joshua Kimmich distributed an astounding over-the-top ball in behind the defence to find Leroy Sane, leaving both Denzel Dumfries and Danilo D’ambrosio completely dumbfounded. The German international remained composed and routed around the shot-stopper Andre Onana to give the Bavarians the advantage.

Although the Nerazzurri began the second half on the front foot, Inzaghi’s men fell short as continuous static defending permitted Kingsley Coman and Sane to perform a lively and animated combination of one-touch passes for the 26 year-old German international  to make space for himself within the opposing box.

As a result, Sane managed to put the nail on the coffin and secure all three points at the San Siro  as his attempt on goal went behind the net following a dreadful mis-clearance by D’ambrosio.

Napoli run riot in five-goal lopsided affair

From the initial whistle, Napoli established their dominance as Spalletti’s vibrant attacking style was far too much for Liverpool to cope with.

A handball in the box from James Milner within the opening minutes into the game allowed Piotr Zielinski to score from the spot and provide I Partenopei with a vital lead.

The Polish midfielder continued to inspire his side as he executed an exquisitely-timed pass to find Franck Anguissa into space within the pocket. The holding midfielder was left unmarked and doubled his side’s advantage.

In all went downhill for Klopp’s side as Khvicha Kvaratskhelia performed a mesmerizing individual display along the flank to leave both Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joe Gomez stone cold and pick out Giovanni Simeone within the center of the box for Napoli to stun Liverpool with three unanswered goals within the first half.

In the end, it was Napoli who sealed all three points in a lopsided victory against Liverpool as a mishandled block towards the center of the box allowed Zilenski to chip Alisson and tally a brace at the Stadio Diego Maradonna.