Champions League

Mertens beats Maradona's Napoli goal mark to edge Salzburg

2019-10-24 07:07
Dries Mertens
Dries Mertens (Getty Images)

Salzburg - Belgium attacker Dries Mertens beat Diego Maradona's tally of 115 goals for Napoli to help his side beat Salzburg 3-2 in the Champions League on Wednesday.

Mertens, 32, who joined the Italian club in 2013, is now just five goals behind Marek Hamsik who has the all-time Napoli goals record of 121.

Napoli's first European victory on the road since December 2016 keeps top of Group E, a point above holders Liverpool who beat bottom side Genk 4-1, with Salzburg in third place on three.

"It's a fantastic evening for us, but we still have to beat Salzburg again in order to qualify," coach Carlo Ancelotti told broadcasters Sky Italia.

"It's a great night for him (Mertens). Napoli are back to winning a Champions League away fixture after three years and we hope to keep that going now," he added.

Salzburg coach Jesse Marsch named Mali teenager Sekou Keita on the bench despite the forward scoring the equaliser at Sturm Graz on Saturday to maintain their unbeaten start to the Austrian league season.

The home side had an early goal ruled out by VAR as teenage striker Erling Haaland was judged to be offside after 10 minutes.

Mertens equalled Maradona's tally, who reached the number in 188 appearances in the space of seven seasons between 1984-1991 at the San Paolo Stadium, on 17 minutes.

He blasted his effort to the top corner after a deft assist from Jose Callejon.

Norway forward Haaland, scored his 19th goal in 13 appearances this season with five minutes of the first half to play.

South Korea striker Hwang Hee-chan was brought down in the Napoli box by right-back Kevin Malcuit and 19-year-old Haaland converted from the spot.

Incisive Insigne

Mertens went one better than Maradona with 25 minutes to play after right-back Malcuit made up for his earlier defensive error with a tidy cross for the Belgian.

The visitors then levelled as Haaland headed in from a Zlatko Junuzovic inswinging cross after 73 minutes to become the first player to score six goals in his first three Champions League appearances.

But without Salzburg touching the ball from the restart substitute Lorenzo Insigne smashed home the winner from Mertens' cross on the half-volley to keep them ahead of Liverpool.

The two sides meet again on November 5 in southern Italy and a victory will move Napoli a step closer to a first knockout appearance in the competition since 2017 leaving Salzburg to fight with Genk for a spot in the Europa League.

Read more on:    napoli  |  dries mertens  |  soccer

 

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Fixtures
Tuesday, 26 November 2019
Lokomotiv Moscow v Bayer Leverkusen, Lokomotiv Stadium 19:55
Galatasaray v Club Brugge, Turk Telekom Arena 19:55
Juventus v Atletico Madrid, Allianz Stadium 22:00
Atalanta v Dinamo Zagreb, Atleti Azzurri d'Italia 22:00
Manchester City v Shakhtar Donetsk, Etihad Stadium 22:00
Real Madrid v Paris SG, Santiago Bernabeu 22:00
Red Star Belgrade v Bayern Munchen, Stadion Rajko Mitic 22:00
Tottenham Hotspur v Olympiacos, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium 22:00
Wednesday, 27 November 2019
Valencia v Chelsea, Mestalla 19:55
Zenit St. Petersburg v Lyon, Saint Petersburg Stadium 19:55
Liverpool v Napoli, Anfield 22:00
Barcelona v Borussia Dortmund, Camp Nou 22:00
Slavia Prague v Inter Milan, Eden Arena 22:00
Genk v Red Bull Salzburg, Luminus Arena 22:00
RB Leipzig v Benfica, Red Bull Arena 22:00
Lille v Ajax, Stade Pierre-Mauroy 22:00
Tuesday, 10 December 2019
Red Bull Salzburg v Liverpool, Red Bull Arena 19:55
Napoli v Genk, San Paolo 19:55
Ajax v Valencia, Amsterdam ArenA 22:00
Benfica v Zenit St. Petersburg, da Luz 22:00
Lyon v RB Leipzig, Groupama Stadium 22:00
Inter Milan v Barcelona, San Siro 22:00
Borussia Dortmund v Slavia Prague, Signal Iduna Park 22:00
Chelsea v Lille, Stamford Bridge 22:00
Wednesday, 11 December 2019
Dinamo Zagreb v Manchester City, Maksimir Stadium 19:55
Shakhtar Donetsk v Atalanta, Metalist Stadium 19:55
Bayern Munchen v Tottenham Hotspur, Allianz Arena 22:00
Bayer Leverkusen v Juventus, BayArena 22:00
Club Brugge v Real Madrid, Jan Breydel Stadion 22:00
Olympiacos v Red Star Belgrade, Karaiskakis Stadium 22:00
Paris SG v Galatasaray, Parc des Princes 22:00
Atletico Madrid v Lokomotiv Moscow, Wanda Metropolitano 22:00
Saturday, 30 May 2020
TBA v TBA, Ataturk Olympic Stadium 02:00
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