On a strange night in Naples, the runner-up in last season's Champions League saw their new campaign get off to a rocky start as Napoli defeated Borussia Dortmund 2-1. Goals from Gonzalo Higuaín and Lorenzo Insigne made the difference as Dortmund played the entire second half down a man and without their head coach.
The opening 15 minutes were a bit of a herky-jerky affair as the two sides combined some free flowing attacking play with a lot of ticky-tack fouls that forced the referee to break up the play with frequent whistles.
Gonzalo Higuaín was dangerous from the start though and nearly put Napoli in front in the 15th minute after he broke in behind the Dortmund back line. Neven Subotic made a lightning quick recovery, though, and dispossessed HIguain as he moved in on Roman Weidenfeller, making a superbly timed tackle.
Dortmund's best chance of the half came in the 26th minute when some pinpoint passing freed Robert Lewandowski inside the Napoli area. The Polish striker looked sure to score, but Pepe Reina charged off his line and blocked the shot well and Marco Reus' follow-up effort was cleared away by Juan Zúñiga.
Things went a little nuts in the 29th minute as Napoli went ahead on a header from Higuaín. A short corner moved the ball quickly to Zúñiga who fired a cross into the box where Higuaín had beat Marcelo Schmelzer and directed a downward header into the bottom corner.
Dortmund head coach Jürgen Klopp, furious at the fourth official for preventing Neven Subotic from re-entering the pitch or at the questionable corner that led to the goal, was sent off by the referee after a furious exchange with the fourth official.
Things got even worse for Dortmund right before halftime. Mats Hummels was forced out with an apparent hamstring injury and Weidenfeller was shown a straight red card after handling the ball outside of the box. The Dortmund keeper was desperately trying to prevent Higuaín from breaking free on an empty net and it was an easy call for the referee.
With the lead and the man advantage, Napoli controlled play in the second half, but were hardly dominating.
It's took until the 67th minute for them to finally add a second goal and it was a lovely strike when it finally arrived. Lorenzo Insigne was the scorer, sending a free kick off the bottom side of the crossbar after curling it around the Dortmund wall. Substitute goalkeeper Mitchel Langerak had no chance to stop the shot and nearly knocked himself out of the match after colliding with the post during his save attempt.
Dortmund did pull a goal back in the 87th minute when Zúñiga directed a Marco Reus cross past Reina with an awkward off-balance clearance attempt. Minutes later Reus nearly completed the miracle comeback, forcing a diving save from Reina on a free kick to preserve the result for Napoli.
Napoli: Reina, Maggio, Albiol, Britos, Zúñiga, Inler, Behrami, Callejón, Hamsik (Mesto 90'), Insigne (Mertens 73'), Gonzalo Higuaín (Pandev 78')
Goals: Higuaín (29'), Insigne (67')
Borussia Dortmund: Weidenfeller (red card 45'), Großkreutz, Subotic, Hummels (Aubameyang 45'), Schmelzer; Bender, Sahin; Blaszczykowski (Langerak 45'), Mkhitaryan (Hoffman 76'), Reus; Lewandowski.
Goals: Zúñiga (o.g. 86')