Free-Scoring Napoli Should Outgun Nice in the First Leg of the Champions League Qualifier
Napoli and Nice were drawn together in the UEFA Champions League Qualifiers and it’s set to be a mouthwatering clash in Italy. There will no away fans attending either leg but it shouldn’t detract from the spectacle.
The Partenopei finished third in Serie A last season just a point shy of Roma but they were the entertainers of the division, hitting 94 goals in 38 matches, the highest in the league. Mauricio Sarri’s side should be able to carry on where they left off at the end of the campaign when they take on Ligue 1 outfit Nice.
The visitors will be without new signing Wesley Sneijder and the enigmatic Mario Balotelli for this tie, which makes their task much harder. The club from the Allianz Riveria’s preparation failed to go to plan after losing 2-1 at home to newly promoted Troyes on August 11, with Lucien Favre’s side lacking the cutting edge over the 90 minutes.
Napoli are the overwhelming favorites for this match and soccer bettors will no doubt be backing the Serie A side for success here based on their form last season. The Italian top flight is yet to get underway but I Ciucciarelli have already beaten Espanyol and Bayern Munich in pre-season. They hit at least three goals in four of their last five games at the end of the season and, with Arkadiusz Milik back to full fitness, they will be ready for this.
Other Champions League Qualifiers include Liverpool travelling to face Hoffenheim whilst Sporting CP host FCSB of Romania. Young Boys, meanwhile, host CSKA Moscow in one of the more intriguing ties of the week. Basaksehir have been a revelation in the Turkish Super League and beat Club Brugge to reach this stage – they could cause real problems for La Liga outfit Sevilla on August 16.