Champions League - Bayern edge out Napoli

Wed, 02 Nov 21:40:00 2011

Bayern Munich beat Napoli 3-2 at the Alianz Arena in an enthralling game to stay top of Group A in the Champions League.

FC Bayern vs Napoli - Champions League 2011/2012 - 0

A tie full of drama and goals looked to be heading only one way when Mario Gomez scored a first half hat-trick, but Napoli replied with two goals from defender Federico Fernandez to set up a tense finish.

Both teams had a man sent off in the second half, but Bayern just about held on, though they suffered a notable injury when Bastian Schweinsteiger was forced off after 50 minutes with what looked to be a possible dislocated shoulder.

Bayern were rampant in the first half and should have been up by more at the break. Gomez's first came after 17 minutes and it was a wonderful piece of skill from the German that did it. Schweinsteiger played into Gomez, who had his back to goal. He dragged the ball across the defender, completely wrong footing him and drove the ball past Morgan De Sanctis, beating him through sheer power.

His second came just three minutes later and it was another well crafted goal. Bayern broke at pace through Franck Ribery. Thomas Mueller eventually received the ball 30 yards from goal and he dinked a delightful pass over the defence who had fruitlessly tried to play the offside trap and Gomez was left all alone to pick his spot on the volley.

The striker's third was a tap in, but again the build up to the goal was incisive. Ribery and Mueller played a one-two on the edge of the area, the Frenchman played in Toni Kroos whose shot to the far post was brilliantly saved by De Sanctis, but he had no chance with the rebound.

Napoli gave themselves hope on the stroke of half-time. Ezequiel Lavezzi's free-kick from just off the touchline flew to the back post where Fernandez inexplicably had masses of space to head inside the unguarded post.

The second half was a tighter affair with far fewer chances for both sides. Schweinsteiger's injury seemed to disrupt Bayern's rhythm and allowed Napoli to get more possession as the half wore on.

Napoli's chances appeared ruined when Juan Zuniga picked up two yellow cards in a couple of minutes, the second a tug on Ribery. But it wasn't long though before the numbers were level. Holger Badstuber picked up a second yellow just five minutes after Zuniga for a similar offence as he pulled back Edinson Cavani, who had beaten him for pace.

Napoli reduced the arrears with just over 10 minutes to go. Another Lavezzi set piece, this time from deep, was put to the far corner and Rodriguez grabbed his second - a wonderful looping header that left Manuel Neuer with no chance.

Bayern though held out well and did not really allow Napoli another decent sight of goal. In the last minute Napoli won a corner, which the goalkeeper came up for, Bayern cleared the ball and it fell to Gomez. He had an attempt from halfway towards the unguarded net but De Sanctis got back just in time to clear away on the line in what was the last kick of the game.

Tom Embury-Dennis / Eurosport

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