After helping SSC Napoli earn a 1-1 UEFA Champions League Group A draw against a dominant FC Bayern München side, defender Christian Maggio attributed the hard-earned point to the never-say-die spirit within Walter Mazzarri's team, saying: "We never give up."
The writing seemed to be on the wall when Napoli went a goal down inside two minutes against opponents who had won 11 of their preceding 12 matches, but wing back Maggio helped the hosts get back on level terms and then hold out amid a relentless second-half barrage. "When they scored I'd be lying if I said I didn't fear the worst for a few seconds," Maggio told UEFA.com. "But we have shown many times in the past that we are a decent side, that we bounce back and that we never give up. We always keep going until the bitter end."
That the Partenopei did restore parity was largely down to the 29-year-old Italian international, whose searing run down the right took him away from Philipp Lahm for a cross that Holger Badstuber diverted past his own goalkeeper. "We started badly, so to set up the goal was amazing from a personal point of view and a huge boost for the team," said Maggio. "We're happy. We've gone toe to toe with a fantastic side and got a good point."
Napoli certainly enjoyed their share of good fortune as Bayern had a penalty saved by Morgan De Sanctis from a striker who had scored 15 goals in his 11 previous outings for club and country. "I'm disappointed, because we played well tonight against a strong team who played aggressively and worked hard," said Mario Gomez, who failed to register with that 49th-minute spot kick. "We had several chances to score again and it's shame we didn't keep our winning streak going, but you can't win every match. When you concede an own goal and miss a penalty you can't complain."
In-form Bayern are not the only club on a good run, however; Napoli are now unbeaten at home in ten European matches. "We haven't lost many at home in the league either and this is down to the coach who knows how to organise us tactically," said defender Salvatore Aronica. "We thought we were in trouble when they scored, but we stayed organised and alert."
Manchester City FC's added-time winner against visitors Villarreal CF reduced the gap between Napoli and Roberto Mancini's third-ranked side to a point, yet midfielder Marek Hamšík refused to be downcast about drawing against top opposition. "Bayern are too good," he said. "This year they are blowing everyone away in the Bundesliga and they have made a step up in quality. They are scoring for fun and are one of the best teams in the world right now. We'll see where we are after the Munich match but it's still wide open."
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