Champions League

Sarri looks at positives despite Madrid defeat

2017-03-08 14:25
Dries Mertens (Getty Images)

Cape Town - Napoli coach Maurizio Sarri took a lot of positives from his side's 3-1 loss to Real Madrid in their Champions League last-16 second leg clash at the Stadio San Paolo on Tuesday night.

Dries Mertens had opened the scoring for the hosts in the 24th minute, but a stronger second-half performance from Real saw Sergio Ramos equalise with 51 minutes played, ahead of a Mertens own-goal six minutes later, and an Alvaro Morata effort in stoppage time at the end of the match.

The Spanish giants progressed to the quarter-finals with a 6-2 aggregate, and despite the significant gulf between the two sides, Sarri felt his team were dominant for large chunks of the match.

He told Mediaset Premium: "We get the feeling we are not that far off [the top clubs]. 

"We dominated the best team in the world for 55 minutes. If we can grow, become more physical, then we can become competitive at this level too.

"It's a young squad, it has a bright future ahead of it. That final step is the hardest, but I get the feeling we can do it.

"Real Madrid are a very strong side; you need a lot of luck to keep the tie open and a bit of luck on the post to put us 2-0 up would have given us more fuel."

Napoli captain Marek Hamsik added: "We leave the Champions League with heads held high. In the first half we proved that we can play it out with one of the best teams in the world.

"It's a shame that we conceded the goals on set plays. We can fight it out with the biggest clubs and that is a starting point.

"Now we must concentrate on Serie A and the Coppa Italia, which are two objectives. From tomorrow [Wednesday] we will think about Crotone.

"One thing is for sure - we need to improve on corners."

Read more on:    napoli  |  champions league  |  soccer


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Tuesday, 18 February 2020
Borussia Dortmund v Paris SG, Signal Iduna Park 22:00
Atletico Madrid v Liverpool, Wanda Metropolitano 22:00
Wednesday, 19 February 2020
Atalanta v Valencia, San Siro 22:00
Tottenham Hotspur v RB Leipzig, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium 22:00
Tuesday, 25 February 2020
Napoli v Barcelona, San Paolo 22:00
Chelsea v Bayern Munchen, Stamford Bridge 22:00
Wednesday, 26 February 2020
Lyon v Juventus, Groupama Stadium 22:00
Real Madrid v Manchester City, Santiago Bernabeu 22:00
Tuesday, 10 March 2020
Valencia v Atalanta, Mestalla 22:00
RB Leipzig v Tottenham Hotspur, Red Bull Arena 22:00
Wednesday, 11 March 2020
Liverpool v Atletico Madrid, Anfield 22:00
Paris SG v Borussia Dortmund, Parc des Princes 22:00
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team

Who will emerge victorious in this season's Champions League?

Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter


The 2018/19 Absa Premiership season is in full swing. Will Mamelodi Sundowns retain their title? Or can one of Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates, Wits, SuperSport United - or another team perhaps - snatch glory from the Brazilians? Be sure to visit Sport24 for all the latest news!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.