Pulse.com.gh logo
Go


Last 16 Hamsik says Napoli can revive Champions League dream

  • Published:
Marek Hamsik wants his Napoli teammates to cap their stuttering Champions League campaign with a win at Benfica play

Marek Hamsik wants his Napoli teammates to cap their stuttering Champions League campaign with a win at Benfica

(AFP)

Napoli captain Marek Hamsik has called for his teammates to cap their stuttering Champions League campaign with a win at Benfica and qualify for the last 16 as group winners.

Napoli's hopes of making the knockout phase for the first time since elimination by eventual winners Chelsea in 2012 were left hanging in the balance by a scoreless draw at home to Dinamo Kiev on Wednesday.

Although still top of Group B, defeat for Maurizio Sarri's men in their final group game, away to Benfica in a fortnight, would bring a spectacular end to a campaign that started with so much promise.

Hamsik was one of several players who saw shots on goal thwarted by Dinamo 'keeper Artur Rudko at the San Paolo on Wednesday.

And the Slovakia midfielder, who was on target last September when Napoli beat the Portuguese giants 4-2 at home, has called for a more clinical performance when they travel to Lisbon on December 6.

"We know a point will be enough to see us through, but we won't be playing for a draw," Hamsik said.

Defeat for Maurizio Sarri's men in their final group game, away to Benfica, would bring a spectacular end to a campaign that started with so much promise play

Defeat for Maurizio Sarri's men in their final group game, away to Benfica, would bring a spectacular end to a campaign that started with so much promise

(AFP)

"More than anything, we have to play better than we did tonight. It's a shame, because a win would have made things a lot easier.

"But we're up near the top of the group and we'll go to Lisbon looking to qualify."

Napoli had been given a pre-match incentive when direct qualification rivals Benfica stormed to a 3-0 lead over Besiktas in Istanbul.

By the time the Italians had finished their warm-up and returned to the pitch for kick-off, Besiktas had drawn level 3-3 to secure a share of the spoils.

It gave the Turks a precious point, left them only one point adrift of Benfica and heaped the pressure on Napoli's players ahead of facing a team they had beaten 2-1 in Kiev at the start of the competition.

Sarri admitted the 3-3 result had a direct influence on his players: "We went off after the warm-up and Benfica were leading 3-1, then we came back and it was 3-3.

"This was a mental blow for the players because it meant we could no longer qualify directly. It's terrible, we shouldn't be allowing ourselves to be influenced like that."

Napoli are still missing prolific Polish striker Arkaduisz Milik play

Napoli are still missing prolific Polish striker Arkaduisz Milik

(AFP)

Napoli are still missing prolific Polish striker Arkaduisz Milik, who scored twice in their opening win over Dinamo and once in the 4-2 win over Benfica, as he continues his recovery from a knee ligament injury.

His absence was felt acutely on Wednesday as Dries Mertens, Lorenzo Insigne and Hamsik missed a series of chances to secure a third win in the group and virtually wrap up qualification.

Anything less than a draw away to Benfica would end Napoli's interest in the competition, a fact that didn't escape the fans who booed and whistled Napoli off the pitch at full-time.

Sarri said later: "I don't think our performance deserved to be whistled. The important thing is we remain united, because things could get much better in the near future."

Milik, bought from Ajax in the summer as a replacement for Juventus-bound Gonzalo Higuain, is expected to return to the fray some time in January.

The Champions League last 16 begins in February.

Do you ever witness news or have a story that should be featured on Pulse Ghana?
Submit your stories, pictures and videos to us now via WhatsApp: +233507713497, Social Media @pulseghana: #PulseEyewitness & DM or Email: eyewitness@pulse.com.gh.

Recommended Articles

Recommended Videos




Top Articles

1 Ban Threat Osafo Maafo to lead government delegation to meet FIFA on...bullet
2 Ghanaian Players Abroad Swansea City fans troll Jordan Ayew over his...bullet
3 Black Princesses Why FIFA waited 10 weeks to issue a threat to ban Ghanabullet
4 Football FIFA made a mistake awarding Messi the Golden Ball- Sepp...bullet
5 Number 12 Government responds to FIFA’s threat to ban Ghanabullet
6 Ghanaian Players Abroad Thomas Partey sets record in Super Cupbullet
7 'Number 12' 6,000 Ghanaian footballers to be rendered unemployedbullet
8 La Liga This is why Luka Modric wants to leave Real Madridbullet
9 The Finest Top 10 players who made the Ghana Premier...bullet
10 Transfer News Aduana Stars duo set to sign for...bullet

Top Videos

1 Watch Kwadwo Asamoah's wonderful assist as Inter pip Atleticobullet
2 Seedorf and Kluivert unveiled as the new Cameroon coachesbullet
3 Anas Aremeyaw Anas finally takes off beads on TVbullet
4 Video Shatta Wale displays great football skills that would...bullet
5 Video These words of Paul Pogba inspired France to World Cup glorybullet
6 Video Andre Ayew jams to Kwami Eugene’s hit songbullet
7 Ghost Goal Italian referee shows remorse for disallowing...bullet
8 Video Sulley Muntari cooks for wife Menayebullet
9 Back to the Roots Memphis Depay dancing ‘adobe’ in Cape...bullet
10 Video Gyan rubbishes assertion that Ghana would have...bullet

Football