Napoli hit six past Ajax to remain top


Giacomo Raspadori scored a brace on his Champions League debut to help Napoli come from behind to thrash 10-man Ajax 6-1 at the Johan Cruijff ArenA this evening.
The 22-year-old summer signing from Sassuolo cancelled out Mohammed Kudus’s opener, before Giovanni Di Lorenzo, Piotr Zielinski, Khvicha Kvaratskhelia and Giovanni Simeone all got their names on the scoresheet as Luciano Spalletti’s side continued their 100% start to the competition.
Napoli travelled to Amsterdam in fine form, winning each of their last six matches across all tournaments, but few would have expected them to demolish the perennial Eredivisie champions on their own turf.
The result has seen Ajax concede at least five goals on home soil for the first time in European competition, as well as lose their second Group A game in three matches after suffering a 2-1 loss at Liverpool last time out.
As for Napoli, tonight’s result is their biggest-ever European win and they have maintained their perfect start in Group A, still sitting at the summit and three points clear of second-placed Liverpool, who secured a 2-0 win over Rangers at Anfield this evening.
In front of a capacity crowd at the Johan Cruijff ArenA, it was Ajax who took the lead in somewhat fortunate circumstances, with Kenneth Taylor’s shot ricocheting of the leg of Kudus and nestling into the back of the net.
However, Napoli turned on the style with three strikes within 27 first-half minutes to head into the interval 3-1 in front.
Raspadori guided a header across goal to draw the Italians level in the 18th minute, before Di Lorenzo’s towering header from a corner put Spalletti’s side in front just after the half-hour mark. Zielinski then tucked away a third on the stroke of half time after receiving a perfectly-weighted through-ball from Tanguy Ndombele.
Ajax were uncharacteristically sloppy in possession and got off to the worse possible start in the second half, giving away possession in their own box before the ball eventually fell to Raspadori, who curled his second of the night into the bottom corner.
In-form winger Kvaratskhelia then got himself in on the act and tucked away his first Champions League goal in the 63rd minute after a neat one-two with Raspadori inside the box.
Ajax’s night then went from bad to worse when captain Dusan Tadic was shown a second yellow card in 73rd minute for a flailing arm into the face of Mathias Olivera.
Nine minutes from time, Napoli capped off a memorable victory in the Netherlands with a sixth goal courtesy of substitute Giovanni Simeone, who directed the ball with the outside of his right boot into the centre of the net.
Napoli will guarantee their place in the knockout rounds of the Champions League if they secure maximum points against Ajax for a second time when the two sides meet at the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium next Wednesday.