Napoli extend lead over Liverpool as Rangers’ dismal start continues – Liverpool FC

Napoli made it two wins out of two to move top of Group A in the Champions League, with Liverpool’s next opponent, Rangers, suffering a second big defeat.

The Reds avoided another disappointment on Tuesday night when Joel Matip’s late header sealed a 2-1 win over Ajax, keeping them in contention in the group stage.

But after a 4-1 thrashing at the hands of Napoli in their opening game, Liverpool already find themselves behind the Italian team in the fight for top spot.

On Wednesday, Napoli visited Ibrox for a delayed clash with Rangers, with the kick-off delayed by 24 hours due to logistical problems following Queen’s death, while away fans were no longer able to attend.

However, the absence of thousands of Napoli supporters clearly had no impact, as Luciano Spalletti’s side crushed Rangers on their way to a 3-0 win.

It came in Rangers’ first Champions League home game since 2010, and the atmosphere inside Ibrox was electric as Alfredo Morelos and Piotr Zielinski traded early chances.

Controversy reigned when Napoli were awarded a penalty in the 55th minute and James Sands was sent off, with the rebound converted by Matteo Politano only for the VAR to call for a replay after an invasion into the box.

Allan McGregor saved Zielinski’s second attempt, but Politano converted another penalty shortly after a handball in the box.

That put Napoli on their way, with more goals from Giacamo Raspadori and Tottenham loan Tanguy Ndombele sealing a comfortable win and three points.

From their opening two group games, then, Napoli have picked up six points, with seven goals scored and just one conceded, and the win put them back top of Group A, three points clear of second-placed Liverpool.

NAPLES, ITALY - Wednesday, September 7, 2022: André-Frank Zambo Anguissa of SSC Napoli celebrates after scoring the second goal during the UEFA Champions League Group A Round 1 match between SSC Napoli and Liverpool FC at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona.  (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

There’s a long way to go, of course, with each team yet to play four times, but it’s a good start from Napoli, particularly given their dominance over Liverpool.

As for Rangers, it appears to be a reality check for Giovanni van Bronckhorst and his players, who will now play Liverpool in back-to-back clashes on October 4 and 12.

Elsewhere on Wednesday night, there were wins for AC Milan, Man City, Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain over Dinamo Zagreb, Borussia Dortmund, RB Leipzig and Maccabi Haifa, respectively.

Shakhtar Donetsk and Celtic drew, as did FC Copenhagen and Sevilla, with the two most surprising results being Benfica’s 2-1 win away to Juventus and a 1-1 draw between Chelsea and Salzburg.

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