Napoli earned a fifth consecutive Europa League victory, beating Club Brugge 1-0 with a Vlad Chiriches volley.
It means Maurizio Sarri’s men maintain their 100 per cent record with 17 goals scored and only one conceded. They are the only side after five match days with a perfect run.
The Partenopei had already qualified top of the group thanks to four crushing victories, so took the opportunity to experiment. This game was played behind closed doors due to the heightened state of alert in Belgium following terror attacks in Paris. Brugge needed a victory to maintain hope of going through, but missed Laurens De Bock, Bjorn Engels and Lior Refaelov. Lorenzo Insigne pulled out with a calf problem and many star names were rested, so Chelsea loanee Nathaniel Chalobah got his first start.
David Lopez flicked the ball round a defender and burst forward, hitting the side-netting where it meets the upright.
Izquierdo went on a mazy run cutting in from the left for a shot charged down, then got into the book for tripping Christian Maggio on the edge of the box.
Mirko Valdifiori’s effort was plucked out from under the bar and Napoli broke through just before half-time.
A corner missed Jose Callejon’s head and Chiriches hit it on the volley from 12 yards to surprise goalkeeper and player on the line. It was the Romanian’s first goal in a Napoli jersey.
Omar El Kaddouri went on the counter and his cross-shot flashed across the face of goal, as did the Felipe Gedoz pull-back.
Stefano Denswil’s free kick and a Jose Callejon curler sailed over the bar, while Izquierdo failed to make the most of two Chiriches errors.
Vossen was inches away from getting his head to a smart chipped cross from close range. Elseid Hysaj wasted a golden opportunity to make it 2-0 late on, but fired straight at the goalkeeper rather than roll across when he ran on to a Maggio through ball.
Club Brugge 0-1 Napoli
Scorers: Chiriches 41 (N)
Club Brugge: Bruzzese; Meunier, Mechele, Denswil, De Fauw; Vormer, Simons (Leandro Pereira 88), Vazquez (Vanaken 81); Felipe Gedoz (Diaby 81), Vossen, Izquierdo
Napoli: Gabriel; Maggio, Chiriches, Koulibaly, Strinic; David Lopez, Valdifiori, Chalobah (Allan 81); Hamsik (Hysaj 69), Callejon (Ghoulam 77), El Kaddouri
Ref: Avram (ROU)
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