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Mertens and Sarri suck up Napoli emotion

Napoli winger Dries Mertens and coach Maurizio Sarri were moved by the San Paolo roar that helped them to a second Group B win as their spectacular start to 2016/17 continued.

Napoli's Dries Mertens after scoring against Benfica
Napoli's Dries Mertens after scoring against Benfica ©AFP/Getty Images

"When we hear our fans screaming 'The Champions' all together at the end of the anthem is just ... amazing," Napoli winger Dries Mertens told UEFA.com after the 4-2 victory against Benfica. It was another magical European night for the Partenopei at Stadio San Paolo.

Benfica are just the latest top European team to lose at Napoli in the UEFA Champions League, the home fans having seen seven victories and one draw at home in the competition proper since the current format was introduced.

Marek Hamšík had already given Napoli a half-time lead when three quick goals early in the second period, including two from Mertens, settled the game despite two late Benfica goals. The Eagles join Villarreal, Manchester City, Chelsea, Borussia Dortmund, Marseille and Arsenal on the list of Napoli's San Paolo UEFA Champions League victims.

"That sweetly brutal scream at the end of Champions League anthem is becoming a trademark of the San Paolo Stadium," wrote Corriere dello Sport on Wednesday.

It is difficult to quantify what kind of impact that scream can really have on the Napoli players but coach Maurizio Sarri said: "It's captivating. It's something that remains on your skin, printed like a tattoo."

Highlights: Napoli 4-2 Benfica

Napoli are on six points from Group B, four clear of Beşiktaş. Indeed, if Turkey's own Eagles lose at the San Paolo on 19 October and Benfica draw with Dynamo Kyiv, Napoli will be the first team ever to get through a UEFA Champions League group after three games.

"The match in Kyiv was my first in the UEFA Champions League," said Sarri, whose side won 2-1 at Dynamo. "It was an important game but emotionally this one was on a completely different level for me.

"The atmosphere was different, it was engaging. You could feel it from the tunnel while entering the pitch, the fans really helped us today, even before the start of the game."

Sarri had described the Napoli fans as "the fuel for our engine" in the pre-match press conference but their success so far this season is down to more than that. The Partenopei are still undefeated having won their two Group B games and earned four victories and two draws in Serie A.

©AFP/Getty Images

They scored 20 goals in eight games in the process. All this without Gonzalo Higuaín, who was sold in the summer after scoring 36 times in Serie A last term.

"The coach always tell us to enjoy ourselves, to have fun when we play, and this is exactly what we did today," Mertens said when we asked him to reveal Napoli's secret. "We proved that we can play great football also against a very strong side like Benfica, we are happy."

The Belgian winger, however, is fully aware that everything can change quickly in football. "We have to keep our feet on the ground because we have done nothing yet. We made a good step forward today but we still have to do great things in this group in order to qualify."