SSC Napoli made a great start to UEFA Champions League Group F with a 2-1 home win against ten-man Borussia Dortmund.
Gonzalo Higuaín's ninth goal in the competition – his first for Napoli – gave the hosts a 29th-minute lead before the 2013 runners-up were reduced to ten men when Roman Weidenfeller was dismissed on the stroke of half-time. An unstoppable free-kick from Lorenzo Insigne midway through the second half put the Serie A leaders in the driving seat, but a Camilo Zúñiga own goal set up a grandstand finish with Napoli just holding out.
Both coaches played their part in delivering a spectacle with two attack-minded sides sent into action, and it was Dortmund who seized the early initiative. The home fans were beginning to get nervous until Insigne flashed a shot wide and Higuaín then had them on their feet in anticipation as he skipped past Mats Hummels, only for Neven Subotić to get in a desperate lunge to tease the ball away from the Argentina forward.
The game was swinging from end to end and Nuri Şahin's deflected shot was plucked out of the air by Pepe Reina, defusing the danger. There was greater concern when Robert Lewandowski broke through and was denied by Reina's legs before Zúñiga used his head to clear Marco Reus's effort.
The stadium erupted at the culmination of Napoli's next attack with Higuaín nodding the hosts in front from Zúñiga's cross after freeing himself from the attentions of Marcel Schmelzer. Visiting coach Jürgen Klopp was then sent to the stands, and things went from bad to worse for the Schwarzgelben just before the break.
With Hummels limping away injured, Weidenfeller raced out of his area to block Higuaín's route to goal, doing so with his hands and suffering the consequence of a red card. With an extra man, Napoli intensified their search for a second goal, finding it in the 67th minute with Insigne sending in an dipping free-kick which tickled the underside of the crossbar on its way past replacement goalkeeper Mitchell Langerak.
Still Dortmund did not give up and substitute Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang rattled the crossbar before Zúñiga inadvertently lent them a hand with three minutes remaining, diverting past his own keeper with the aid of the upright. Dortmund surged forward with renewed belief and Reina had to be at his best to turn a Reus set piece wide as a mixture of joy and relief greeted the final whistle in the home stands.