Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Euro round up: Inter join Milan in the last 16, Napoli put one foot in it

Round five proved to be a decent one for Italian clubs in the Champions League as Inter Milan joined AC Milan in the last sixteen of the Champions League. Inter traveled to Turkey, never an easy destination and picked up a 1-1 draw against Trabzonspor. Ricky Alvarez opened his Inter Milan account in the Champions League after 18 minutes but the Turkish outfit leveled through a deflected effort not long after. It ended 1-1 and Inter, without Forlan, Sneijder and Maicon on the night, had to be satisfied that the point not only qualified them but secured them top place in the group thanks to Lille winning 2-0 in Moscow earlier in the evening.  

The big game of the night was Napoli's encounter with Manchester City. Napoli were on top from the start and Edinson Cavani again rose to the occasion to head home from a tight angle. It was tight and tense but a defensive blunder from Salvatore Aronica let Mario Balotelli fire home from close range. At that moment it looked like the game may turn, but after the break Napoli came out strong and Cavani again found the net. It could, and should, have been more for Napoli with Hamsik hitting the post, Lavezzi testing Hart and Maggio blundering a 1 on 1 attempt. But instead Napoli fluffed their lines and had to endure ten minutes of really pressure at the end of the game. If finished 2-1 and Napoli are in the driving seat for the last round where they head to Villareal. They could go through even in defeat so long as Man City do not beat Bayern.

In the clash of titans Barcelona got the better of Milan 3-2 at the San Siro. It was a great game where Milan came from behind twice to level against the current holders but Xavi finished off a superb Messi pass to secure the three points and the group itself. Milan are through though in second place and given their performances against the best team in Europe will be a match for virtually any other side in the tournament. They will however look to avoid trips to Madrid and Bayern especially but the Diavolo can be confident that they can have a good run in this tournament this year. 

So Inter and Milan through to the last 16 and Napoli almost there as well. Not bad at all for Serie A so far. 


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