It was Napoli who struck first as Giovanni Simeone put the visitors in front just doing enough to beat the keeper. However, Real Madrid responded in less than a minute as Rodrygo put the team on his back and scored a beautiful goal. Just ten minutes later, Real Madrid had turned the game around as Jude Bellingham netted his forth Champions League goal of the season.
However, Napoli started the second half showing real intent to grab an equaliser and that they did, just three minutes into the half André-Frank Zambo Anguissa smashed the ball into the back of the net bringing the Italian side level. As the tie went on, Real Madrid looked the more likely to win the game and that they did as substitute Nico Paz put the Spanish side ahead in the 84th minute after some questionable goalkeeping. Joselu rounded of Los Blancos’ victory with a goal in stoppage time from a rapid Madrid counter.
Story of the Match
Real Madrid made three changes from the side that beat Cadiz in La Liga at the weekend, with David Alaba, Brahim Díaz, and Dani Ceballos coming into the side as Joselu and Nacho dropped to the bench, and Luca Modric was left out of the side completely.
Meanwhile, Napoli also made three changes to their side that were victorious over Atalanta, as Meret, Jesus, and Simeone came in for Gollini, Oliveria, and Raspadori, respectively.
Real Madrid began the game on the front foot, and it took just two minutes for them to register their first shot on target. Rodrygo attempted an ambitious effort from outside the box, which the keeper took easily.
However, against the run of play, it was Napoli who broke the deadlock. After just nine minutes, the Italian side found themselves ahead as Khvicha Kvaratskhelia played a cross towards the far post, which Di Lorenzo flicked on towards Simeone, who tapped it towards the net, which the keeper couldn’t quite scramble away.
A frantic couple of minutes of football saw Real Madrid equalise from the kickoff after an excellent McGedy spin from Brahim Diaz to take Anguissa out of play and open up a three-on-three. Diaz managed to find Rodrygo on the edge of the box, who curled a right-footed effort towards goals as he found the top corner and brought his side level.
As the game started to age, it became even, with Real Madrid enjoying long spells with the ball but not really threatening Napoli, who were standing strong. But, in the 21st minute, Jude Bellingham continued his fantastic European goalscoring record as Alaba played a stunning ball in behind to Bellingham, who just guided a header past Alex Meret and into the back of the net.
Napoli showed their intent to get back into the game at halftime as Victor Oshmien was subbed on for Givanni Simeone to try and provide a faster and more clinical threat to the Real Madrid backline.
It took just three minutes of the second half for Napoli to find their equaliser after Di Lorenzo played a good ball to Anguissa, who was in the Madrid penalty area. The Cameroonian attempted to play the ball across the Madrid box, but it hit Dani Ceballos and fell straight back to Anguissa, who smashed it past Andriy Lunin.
Even after the equaliser, it was still Real Madrid who controlled the play, but Napoli always looked like a threat on the counter.
In the 61st minute, Joselu missed a golden chance at the back post, which would have fired Real Madrid ahead. Mendy crossed an excellent ball to the back post, where you thought all Joselu had to do was tap it in, but he could only get his knee to it, and it ended up flying over the bar.
In the 67th minute, Victor Oshemien had the ball in the back of the net. After great play by Matteo Politano, he played Osimhen through, who smashed it past the goalkeeper; however, the linesman quickly flagged as the Nigerian was clearly offside.
As the game continued, the tempo began to drop, with both teams seemingly happy to settle for a draw. Real Madrid were enjoying a lot of the ball but lacking any real penetration, and Napoli were more than happy to sit in.
But Real Madrid began to find their rhythm again, forcing Alex Meret to pull off a fantastic save in the 75th minute, keeping the game on level terms. Bellingham drove down the left-hand side of the box, managed to cross a ball towards the four white shirts that were waiting, and Rüdiger leapt and got a good header towards goal, with Meret doing exceptionally well to deny the German international.
Madrid came again, and this time it was a looping ball towards Joselu, who was free at the back post. He attempted an overhead kick from a matter of yards out, which just edged over the bar.
As Real Madrid came forward again, Joselu missed again. This time it was an exquisite ball over the top from Dani Carvajal, which Bellingham brought down and struck towards goal. The keeper pulled off a fine save, but the ball went back into the danger area as Joselu headed it towards goal, and you expected the next to bulge, but it just looped wide.
With ten minutes left on the clock, it began to feel that there was only one side that would get the equaliser. It was one-way traffic, with the only team creating any chances being the Spanish side.
Madrid finally got their goal, with the 19-year-old substitute Nico Paz scoring what was sure to be the winner. Paz found himself about 30 yards from goal and unleashed an effort towards the bottom left-hand corner. The keeper managed to get a hand to it and should have done better, but somehow it went in, and Real Madrid finally found themselves in front.
In the third minute of six added on, Joselu, who had had countless chances, finally got his goal as Real Madrid broke at pace, with the ball eventually falling to Bellingham on the left, who put an excellent low cross towards the back post for the Spaniard to tap into an empty net.
It means that Real Madrid have continued their perfect record in Group C, with Napoli having to avoid defeat by two goals in the final group game vs. Braga to make it into the knockout stages of the Champions League. Napoli, however, have confirmed some form of European football after Christmas.
Player of the Match: Jude Bellingham
Another breathtaking performance from the English midfielder, who hustled from start to finish. He was excellent going forward, did not stop working, was faultless in defence, always tracked back, never stopped fighting for his team, and added another goal and assist to bring his European tally to four goals and two assists.