NEWS
Sunday August 4 2013
Napoli implode against Porto

Goran Pandev had given Napoli the lead, but defensive errors and a strong Juan Quintero performance saw Porto win 3-1.

Rafa Benitez revamped his line-up for their second Emirates Cup match, having drawn 2-2 with Arsenal yesterday. Porto were beaten 1-0 by Galatasaray after failing to convert two penalties. Napoli end the tournament with four points, while Porto have six. The Turkish side won the competition by beating Arsenal 2-1 with a Didier Drogba brace.

Goran Pandev was moved to a deeper role with Emanuele Calaiò filling in for the Gonzalo Higuain role and Dries Mertens starting. Porto left Napoli transfer target Jackson Martinez on the bench, but used former Pescara midfielder Quintero.

It was Quintero who had the first chance after two minutes, his daisy-cutter deflected just past the post. Pandev was sent clear through the middle, but hesitated before getting his shot away and allowed Nicolas Otamendi to perform an absolutely decisive tackle.

Calaiò nodded just over from a corner, while Pandev and Quintero threatened from distance. Jose Maria Callejon blasted wide, though it wouldn’t have counted anyway due to an incorrect offside call, then Calaiò horribly wasted a counter-attack.

Before the break a wonderful Quintero cross was whipped in from the left, but Nabil Ghilas just failed to get a clean header to it on the penalty spot.

The referee awarded a penalty when Pandev was nudged in the back by Fernando, though it seemed a soft decision. The Macedonian got back up and converted by sending the goalkeeper the wrong way.

Quintero remained lively and the former Pescara man curled a free kick just wide of the near stick.

Gonzalo Higuain and Marek Hamsik came on for the second half with the Emirates crowd booing the former Real Madrid striker who so nearly joined Arsenal this summer. Pipita seemed to find it amusing and laughed to himself, even blowing kisses to the fans.

Porto equalised straight after the restart, as Quintero’s splendid through ball split the defence to send Ghilas clear, who rolled it past the on-rushing Rafael into the far bottom corner.

Mertens curled a free kick over and Higuain fired straight at the goalkeeper from a Hamsik assist, while Varela placed his finish high.

Ghilas went on a dangerous counter and rolled across for Fernando, who turned wide from six yards. Moments later, Napoli threatened as Helton needed a double save on Callejon and Juan Camilo Zuniga’s follow-up.

From that corner, Porto launched another counter and Andrea Dossena was booked for cynically dragging back his opponent.

Porto turned the game around completely with a huge helping hand from Federico Fernandez, who deflected a Varela cross into his own net from six yards.

Napoli fell apart in the final minutes, as Dossena’s appalling clearance was easily intercepted by substitute Lica in the penalty area, who calmly beat Rafael just 30 seconds after coming on. Just as against Arsenal yesterday, the Partenopei’s fitness levels collapsed, as their season is not due to start until August 25.

Napoli 1-3 Porto

Scorers: Pandev pen 43 (N), Ghilas 50 (P), Fernandez og 68 (P), Lica 78 (P)

Napoli: Rafael; Zuniga (Novothny 83), Gamberini (Albiol 62), Fernandez, Dossena; Dzemaili, Radosevic (Hamsik 46); Mertens, Pandev (Maggio 56), Callejon (Behrami 74); Calaiò (Higuain 46)

Porto: Helton; Fucile, Mangala, Otamendi, Alex Sandro (Ricardo 65); Fernando, Herrera (Rodrigues 89), Josuè (Eduardo 77); Varela (Lica 77), Ghilas (Reyes 83), Quintero (Iturbe 72)

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