Napoli Vs. Bayern Munich, 2011 UEFA Champions League: Teams Settle For 1-1 Draw

Well that's either a point earned or two points dropped for Bayern Munich. It's hard to say either way. The Germans were comfortably better than Napoli, whose trident of Edinson Cavani, Marek Hamsik and Ezequiel Lavezzi disappointed, but failed to emerge from the Stadio San Paolo with more than a draw. It looked as though things would be very different early when the visitors brushed Napoli's feeble defence aside for Toni Kroos to slot home after two minutes, but early dominance was undone thanks to a bizarre own goal that marked the first time Manuel Neuer was forced to pick the ball out of the back of his net since early August.

Although the front three were disappointing for Napoli, the wing backs weren't, and it was no surprise that Christian Maggio was the source of their best moment of the night after beating Philipp Lahm and driving towards the goal. His low cross was intended for Hamsik but instead Holger Badstuber got his foot in the way first, flicking the ball deftly past his own goalkeeper to level the scores.

Napoli would finish the first half in fine fashion, looking dangerous whenever Juan Zuniga and Maggio were in possession as well as threatening on the counterattack, but that confidence seemed to evaporate with the restart as Bayern were once again all over their hosts, with Walter Mazzarri's team woeful in the early stages. It seemed only a matter of time before the Germans would score again, and that moment looked like it'd arrived when referee Olegario Benquerenca inexplicably pointed to the spot after Paolo Cannavaro had blocked a Mario Gomez shot with his arm.

Up stepped Mario Gomez, Destroyer of Worlds. Against him was a sleepy little goalkeeper from the foothills. Goalkeeper won, as Morgan de Sanctis guessed correctly, hurling himself to his left to grab the striker's admittedly weak spot kick, punching the air in celebration. Things got fairly feisty after that, with the announcers commenting that Napoli weren't doing anything through the middle but missing that they were bit hit with crunching professional fouls whenever they tried. Thomas Muller laid in a particularly nasty on on Lavezzi in breaking up a counterattack, and on a different day could have been sent off for what turned into a two-footed scissor lunge. Instead, he went into the book, along with eight(!) other players.

Anyway, the game went on. There were chances to finish things up for both sides - Bayern more than Napoli on account of not having the world's most lackadaisical defence - but at the end of the day it seemed as though each would be happy with the draw, and that's what we ended up getting. Bayern still lead Group A, and Napoli remain in second place ahead of Manchester City. Attention now shifts to the reverse fixture at the Allianz Arena. If Napoli can get a result there, they're very likely to go through.

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