Published: Thu, February 16, 2017
Sport | By Billy Aguilar

Real Madrid boss Zizou: Champions League "in our grasp"

Real Madrid boss Zizou: Champions League

Casemiro added to strikes from Karim Benzema and Toni Kroos to help Madrid take control of the tie, but Napoli's away goal will give the Italians every reason to believe they can trouble the Spanish heavyweights at the Stadio San Paolo.

However, it was Napoli who got off to the ideal start just eight minutes in when Insigne took aim from 40 yards and caught Madrid 'keeper Keylor Navas out of position with a superb effort that curled around the Costa Rica global.

Gareth Bale will not make it for Real Madrid, as he is still recovering from an ankle injury, although Zinedine Zidane hopes the Welshman will be back in contention for the second leg on 7 March.

Napoli thought they pulled a goal back through Callejon, who slid home Mertens' ball back across goal, but the winger was a yard offside.

It was an impressive collective effort from Real Madrid.

Cristiano Ronaldo has set a new personal best for assists in a single Champions League campaign with Real Madrid. The former Real Madrid wideman is Napoli's second top scorer domestically and is offered at 13/5 (3.60) to net on his return to the Bernabeu.

Karim Benzema struck back for Real Madrid though, heading home after a flawless cross from Dani Carvajal to make it 1-1 in the 18th.

Madrid now have a comfortable lead in the Spanish Liga, but at times have been less than impressive, it will be fascinating to see how they and an in-form Napoli perform in a game which offers no second chances. With the exception of the seldom-seen Fabio Coentrao, all of Madrid's 20 outfield players have scored this term - and that has taken the pressure off the forward players. But in order for the Partenopei to progress past this round for the first time, they must try and stop Los Merengues from scoring for the first time in 34 Champions League home games.

Napoli are deeper than they were even a year ago, and certainly much deeper than they last time they got into this round in 2012, but they're not quite there yet as a complete team at this level.

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