Napoli, the reigning Serie A champions, kicked off their Champions League campaign with a hard-fought 2-1 victory against Braga. While not as dominant as their performances in the previous group stage, Napoli managed to secure the win.
The decisive moment came in the 88th minute when Braga’s defender Sikou Niakate unintentionally deflected a cross from Piotr Zielinski into his own net, giving Napoli the lead just moments after Braga’s Bruma had equalized.
Napoli’s captain, Giovanni Di Lorenzo, had opened the scoring in first-half stoppage time with a well-placed shot after Victor Osimhen headed back a cross from Khvicha Kvaratskhelia. Osimhen, who posed a constant threat, also hit the crossbar during the first half.
In the other Group C fixture, Real Madrid, a 14-time champion, secured a narrow 1-0 victory over newcomer Union Berlin, with Jude Bellingham scoring in stoppage time.
Napoli, who reached the quarterfinals in the previous Champions League campaign, is still adapting to the leadership of their new coach, Rudi Garcia, following the departure of Luciano Spalletti, the manager who guided them to their first Serie A title in several years.
Last season, Napoli showcased their prowess by winning five out of six group stage matches and scoring a remarkable 20 goals.
This match marked Braga’s return to the Champions League group stage after an 11-year absence, as they had to navigate through two qualifying rounds to earn their spot.