Tag Archives: Napoli

UEFA confirm Champions/Europa league and Euro 2020 fixture plans

The return of Europe’s top competitions have been discussed at length since domestic leagues confirmed their return plans. Today at last clubs and fans were given details as to how the knockout stages will be played out.

The club tournaments will be completed in August, with the Europa League being held in Germany and the Champions League being held in Portugal. These will take place from the Quarter final stage.

UEFA confirmed that the 12 original host cities will stage matches in next summer’s Euro 2020 finals. The competition will start on the 11th June 2021. The pushed-back play-off matches will be played during the international breaks starting on the 8th October and the 12th November, respectively.

The Champions League will restart with the second-leg matches of the last 16 games left over. These will be played on the 7th and 8th of August. The games yet to be played are: Manchester City at home against Real Madrid, Chelsea away to Bayern Munich, Juventus at home against Lyon and Napoli, who take their impressive 1-1 away result into their home leg, against Barcelona. UEFA said it has yet to decide whether to stage the games at home grounds or at neutral venues.

 

The subsequent knockout rounds will be played over one leg and will be hosted in the city of Lisbon, at the Estádio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica and the Estádio José Alvalade, between the 12th to the 23rd August. The final has been scheduled for 23 August, also taking place in Lisbon.

The Estádio do Dragão in Porto and the Estádio Dom Afonso Henriques in Guimarães will also be added to the Lisbon venues for the Round of 16 should such measures be necessary.

The same applies to the Europa League which will resume the Quarter Finals on the 10th August. The remaining last 16 games will be played on the 5th and 6th of August. The venues will be stationed in Cologne, Duisburg, DĂĽsseldorf and Gelsenkirchen.

 

Istanbul and Gdansk, the original host cities for the Champions and Europa League finals respectively, will now stage next year’s finals in 2021.

UEFA stated:

“A decision will be made in due course on whether these matches for which the first leg has already been played will be staged at the home team’s venue or in Germany.

“Inter Milan v Getafe and Sevilla v Roma, whose first leg was also postponed, will be played as a single leg at a venue to be confirmed.”

The Women’s Champions League will also be a knockout tournament, in northern Spain between the 21st and 30th of August.

UEFA President Aleksander ÄŚeferin, said:

“I am delighted that we are able to resume almost all of our competitions. I am confident that we will not have to endure the fans’ absence for long and that they will be allowed into stadiums sooner rather than later.”

With many Women’s leagues not returning he was also keen to comment on the return on the Women’s Champions League:

“Particularly with the Women’s Champions League, it was important to send a strong signal that it is possible to complete this season, in a time where women’s sports have suffered substantially. This competition has exciting times ahead with the format change in 2021/2022 and we want to enhance the momentum in the women’s game, not lose it.”

Overall, with the return of the Premier League soon this is even more positive news for fans, so mark the dates in your calendar, the season is beginning to hot up again!

Napoli Reach Coppa Italia Final as Mertens Breaks Goal Scoring Record

Dries Mertens became Napoli’s all-time top scorer to ensure his side progressed to the Copa Italia Final at the expense of Antonio Conte’s Inter Milan.

They fell behind inside two minutes when Christian Eriksen’s corner evaded everyone and went in. Napoli’s Belgian international, however, made it 1-1 just before half-time.

That goal means Gennaro Gattuso’s team will be the ones to face Juventus in the final in Rome next Wednesday.

Inter made a blistering start to the game taking the lead in the first two minutes, which levelled the tie. An Eriksen corner went all the way through a disjointed looking Napoli defence and nestled in the bottom corner.

Antonio Candreva then had a brilliant chance to put Inter ahead in the tie. He bared down on the right side of goal and had three options in the box to pull the ball back to, however, he chose to shoot instead.  Candreva’s shot was saved and it subsequently went out for a corner, which was eventually gathered by Napoli’s goalkeeper David Ospina.

Ospina then unleashed a remarkable throw to Insigne inside the Inter half, who drove into the box and pulled the ball back to Mertens who calmly slotted home. That goal makes Mertens Napoli’s all-time top scorer with 122 goals, overtaking former club captain, Marek Hamsik’s tally.

Conte’s Inter knew that one goal would see them progress on the away goals rule but in a second half that lacked many clear cut openings, their best chance fell to Eriksen.  The former Spurs midfielder latched onto a cross from the left but could only fire his low shot at Ospina.

A series of good crosses came in from the left-hand side, but the lacklustre Romelu Lukaku failed to steer any of his headers past Ospina. Fellow former Manchester United man Alexis Sanchez came on and looked lively, flashing a shot wide late in the game.

Ultimately, the seven times winners of the Coppa Italia ran out of steam and Napoli were able to see the game out with relative ease.

What do we know about Manchester City and Liverpool target Faouzi Ghoulam?

Looking ahead to the upcoming January transfer window, managers will be keen to strengthen their squads where necessary.  One player who has been interesting a number of Premier League clubs is Napoli and Algeria left-back Faouzi Ghoulam.  But what do we know about him?

Ghoulam is a 26-year-old, French born – Algerian international who started his career at French side Saint Étienne and moved to Napoli in January 2014 and since then he has fast become Napoli’s number one in this position.  Ghoulam has 2 goals and 3 assists to his name already this season in the Italian Serie A.  He has good pace, is powerful, loves to get forward and is strong all-round defensively.

The Algerian has attracted a lot of interest over the past few years, with Manchester City and Liverpool being two of the big names linked with the Napoli man by The Express.

The move would appear to be a good one for both of these clubs, particularly for Manchester City, having recently lost £50 million left back Benjamin Mendy to potentially a season-ending knee injury.  Liverpool would also fancy a move for Ghoulam, as they have struggled to find a consistent left back to fit into their team for these past few years, with James Milner or young Andy Robertson recently filling in for the unreliable Alberto Moreno.

Ghoulam is out of contract at the end of the season and talks over a new contract with Napoli have recently broken down, which means he could potentially be available at a cut-price fee in the January window if Napoli do not want to risk losing their number one left-back on a free transfer next summer.

With his contract running down and a potential deal looking close, we could see Ghoulam playing in the Premier League very soon.