MADRID- The European Champions have given themselves a huge advantage of making the quarter finals after defeating a very stubborn Napoli side 3-1 at the Santiago Bernabeu.
The two sides met for the first time since 1987 in a very thrilling and open game in Madrid. The hosts started the game very strong with an early chance coming from Benzema in the opening minute of the game.
After a beautiful passage of play, Lorenzo Insigne spotted Keylor Navas off his line and curved the ball into the bottom right corner from quite the distance to give the Italians a shock lead against the champions.
Napoli looked like the were getting a hold of the game after scoring but only 10 minutes after taking the lead, Carvajal delivered a beautiful cross which saw Karim Benzema header home from close range.
Real Madrid grew stronger as the first half went on but were unable to capitalize on their chances. Benzema came closest to taking the lead when he hit the post just before halftime.
Real Madrid started the second half the way they ended the first. Toni Kroos got on the end of a Ronaldo pass to delicately place the ball into the bottom right corner to give the hosts the lead.
Just five minutes after going ahead, the ball fell to Casemiro who’s effort rifled into the back of the net. Napoli had been strong in the first half but within the first ten minutes of the second half they conceded two goals.
The rest of the game saw Napoli pile the pressure onto Madrid, creating a lot of chances and trying to pin Madrid back as they were in search for a second crucial away goal.
The closest Napoli came to scoring was in the 80th minute when Callejon’s goal was correctly called offside.
At fulltime, it finished 3-1 to the European Champions, who put themselves in a strong position for the second leg in three weeks time.
Second Leg: Tuesday, March 7th, Estadio San Paolo. 2:45pm EST.