Osimhen and Napoli begin Champions League campaign on winning note

Osimhen and Napoli begin Champions League campaign on winning note
Credit: Icon Sport

Napoli faced off with Braga in the UEFA Champions League opener at Estádio Municipal de Braga and it was the Italians that came away with a 2-1 win on Wednesday night. 

Napoli struggled to avoid defeat in their previous Serie A match, while Braga lost their preparatory game on the other hand. 

Nevertheless, it was an interesting contest with chances created slightly balanced and a late winner to decide the game in Portugal. 

How it happened between Braga and Napoli

Braga made it to the UEFA Champions League for the first time in 11 years but they were welcomed to a 2-1 defeat by Scudetto holders Napoli. 

It was an explosive match right from the start with a lot of goal action happening in the opening 15 minutes as Braga's goalkeeper Matheus was made to keep the scoreline goalless via some big saves. The Brazilian first denied Victor Osimhen one-on-one, before displaying some immense reactions to stop two goal-bound headers in quick succession.

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Credit: Icon Sport

The early dominance from the Italian champions, who were playing In Braga for the first time, continued as Nigerian striker Osimhen headed his effort just off target, before crashing another effort against the crossbar from the edge of the area. 

Braga were just managing to cope at the time for large periods in the first half. Sadly, the Naples side lost defender Amir Rrahmani in the opening quarter and he was replaced by Leo Ostigard. 

Meanwhile, Braga were praying earnestly for the half-time break to come but that was when they were hit by a sucker punch from the visitors.

Braga defender José Fonte’s attempted clearance was not done properly and it fell to Napoli skipper Giovanni Di Lorenzo, who volleyed against the turf and into the roof of the net. Napoli went into the break in front. 

It was a well-deserved lead for Partenopei, but Braga came out in the second half a changed side. 

Ricardo Horta, who had assisted five of his side’s previous six European goals, almost got the equalizer for the home side. On the other end, an attempt from Piotr Zieliński bounced just off target.

Momentum shifted totally and in the final ten minutes of the game, the Portuguese side got their equalizer. A gorgeous cross from Rodrigo Zalazar was met by the head of Bruma, who glanced into the net.

Despite that late goal, Braga could not hold on for their first UCL point in 11 years as Napoli got their lead back with two minutes left to play. Zieliński’s cross, which looked wayward, was turned into Braga’s net by defender Sikou Niakaté. 

Napoli will host Real Madrid next month on match day two, while Braga will travel to Germany to face Union Berlin.

Braga vs Napoli confirmed lineups

Matheus; Gomez, Fonte, Niakate, Borja; Horta, Carvalho, Al Musarati; Bruma, Djalo; Ruiz.

Substitutes

Banza, Castro, Hornicek, Horta, Marin, Mendes, Moutinho, Oliveira, Pizzi, Rony Lopes, Saatchi, Zalazar.

Napoli

Meret; Di Lorenzo, Rrahmani, Jesus, Olivera; Lobotka, Anguissa Zielinski; Politano, Osimhen, Kvaratskhelia.

Substitutes

Contini, Elmas, Gaetano, Idasiak, Lindstrom, Natan, Ostigard, Raspadori, Rui, Simeone, Zanoli, Zerbin.

This article was most recently revised and updated 9 months ago

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