Mathematics and quality football are on opposite sides in Napoli’s attempt to react in the final stretch of the group stage of the Europa League. The Italian team seeks their survival in the competition on Tuesday, November 21 against Ukraine’s Shakthar. The game will be held from 17:45 (Brasília time) at the San Paolo stadium in Naples, as part of the schedule of the fifth (penultimate) round of the tournament in its 2017/2018 edition.
The F Group already have Manchester City, leader with 12 points and 100% use, ranked. The second wave is among the Ukrainians, who reached nine points, and the Neapolitans, who added only three. Feyenoord, Netherlands, without scoring, is eliminated.
The recent performance of Napoli
Mathematics shows that the situation of the Italians is almost irreversible. In addition to winning the two remaining games, the team must count on Shakthar not to miss a point. However, the quality of football presented by Napoli points to a different scenario.
On Saturday 18 November, also at the San Paolo stadium, the Neapolitans beat Milan 2-1, retaining the lead of the Italian Championship. Of the 39 points played, they added 35 (11 wins and two draws). They are two more than the Internazionale, also undefeated, who is in second place. But the advantage in the comparison with Juventus, third placed, rose to four points.
In the Champions League, the only result below the expectations of Napoli was precisely the defeat for Shakthar, Ukraine, by 2 to 1. This causes the Italian team have to win the match on Tuesday by 1 to 0 or two difference goals if your defense is leaked. In addition, he will need to overcome Feyenoord in the Netherlands on the final day.
However, only your results will not be enough. To advance as runner-up to the last 16 of the Champions League still need to rely on Manchester City’s victory against Shakhtar in Ukraine. Although this possibility requires the ‘marriage’ of three results, they are all viable.
That is why coach Maurizio Sarri should put on the field the best team available to him on Tuesday in search of the turn in that final stretch. The only limitations presented for the squad are in relation to defender Faouzi Ghoulam (11 matches in the 2017/2018 Italian Championship, two goals); midfielder Nikola Maksimovic (a game, no goal) and striker Arkadiusz Milik (three games, one goal). They are bruised.
The current form of Shakthar
Shakthar had an unexpected result in their last match before facing Napoli. Acting on their domains on Friday, November 17, took Oleksandriya 2-1. The failure interrupted an unbeaten series that already accumulated nine games (six victories and three defeats).
The drop, however, did not change much the situation of the team in the dispute of the Ukrainian Championship. Follow the leader. He has 36 points (11 wins, three draws and two losses). The stumble only allowed Dinamo Kiev, second placed, to reduce the gap between them to four points. The vice-leader still has one more game to complete.
Coached by Portuguese coach Paulo Fonseca, Schakthar should only have a low among their starters to try to hold Napoli to secure their place in the round of 16. Defender Sergey Kryvtosov (eight matches in the 2017/2018 Ukrainian Championship, two goals) suffered a serious knee injury. He will hardly be released to act.
History of the bouts between Napoli and Shakthar
The match in Ukraine was the first among the teams. It finished with victory of the constituents by 2 to 1.
With continued participation in continental tournaments in recent seasons, Shakthar should not be impressed with the crowded San Paolo stadium and fans pushing Napoli to victory. You will not even need to modify your game strategy, since strong defensive system and counterattacks are your standard of action.
However, the superior technical quality of Napoli and the fact that the team seeks victory regardless of the situation makes the guess of the owners of the house is the best guess. Has a price of 1.44 in Bet365. Draw presents prize of 5.25 and successful visitor yields 7.00 per invested real.