Witness the full match replay and highlights of the riveting clash between Napoli and Sporting Braga. The action kicks off at 20:00 (GMT) on 12th December 2023. The referee presiding over this intense match is the esteemed S. Vinčić. The battleground for this showdown is none other than the iconic Stadio Diego Armando Maradona. Brace yourself for a showdown in the Europe – UEFA Champions League, Group C, Season 2023/2024.
Napoli vs Sporting Braga Full Match Reports
Napoli, the reigning Italian champions, secured a place in the UEFA Champions League (UCL) knockout stages with a convincing 2-0 victory, shattering Braga’s aspirations of making history by reaching the last 16 in European football’s premier club competition.
Braga initially burst out of the gates, with Bruma narrowly missing the target within minutes of the kick-off. However, Napoli swiftly asserted control, capitalizing on a defensive blunder that significantly complicated the visitors’ task before the 10-minute mark. Serdar Saatçı’s casual attempt to deal with Matteo Politano’s low cross inadvertently led to a deflection off his heel, crossing the line despite Matheus’ efforts to prevent it.
Despite a fleeting redemption attempt from Braga in the form of a long-range effort from captain Ricardo Horta, Alex Meret’s save reignited Napoli’s offensive onslaught. Soon after, any regrets over Piotr Zieliński’s near-post miss faded away as Natan orchestrated a brilliant combination with Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, finding Victor Osimhen. The latter managed to flick the ball over the floundering Matheus, securing Napoli’s second goal.
Artur Jorge’s halftime pep talk failed to rejuvenate his demoralized players, as Napoli continued to create higher-quality chances. André-Frank Zambo Anguissa squandered an opportunity by hitting straight at Matheus in the box, and Politano tested Braga’s goalkeeper from a distance. While Braga showed a resurgence in the last 15 minutes, with Meret making a crucial save against R. Horta’s snapshot and half-chances for Bruma and Liga Portugal’s top-scorer Simon Banza, they fell short of their ambitious target.
Despite the defeat, Braga found consolation in Union Berlin’s failure to beat Real Madrid, securing a third-place finish and qualification for the Europa League play-off round. For Napoli, the victory halted a three-game losing streak, and manager Walter Mazzarri will be optimistic about using their European success to reinvigorate a somewhat lackluster domestic campaign.
Man of the Match: Natan (Napoli).