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Napoli v Crvena zvezda facts

Napoli could secure progress with a win but will be wary of Crvena zvezda, who claimed a notable scalp last time out.

Napoli's Dries Mertens (left) is challenged by Dušan Jovančić of Crvena zvezda on matchday one
Napoli's Dries Mertens (left) is challenged by Dušan Jovančić of Crvena zvezda on matchday one ©Getty Images

Napoli will be looking for a win that would put them in a strong position in Group C – and could secure a place in the knockout round – as they welcome a Crvena zvezda side who are buoyed by their first UEFA Champions League victory.

• The Italian side – who shared a goalless draw in Serbia in their opening fixture – have six points, level with Liverpool and one ahead of Paris Saint-Germain with Crvena zvzeda still in contention on four points.

• That means Napoli will be through if they win and Paris do not beat Liverpool in the other matchday four game; Crvena zvezda will be unable to finish in the top two if they lose.

Highlights: Crvena zvezda 0-0 Napoli
Highlights: Crvena zvezda 0-0 Napoli

Form guide
• Having been held 0-0 at Crvena zvezda, a 90th-minute Lorenzo Insigne goal earned Napoli a 1-0 win against last season's finalists Liverpool in their first home game on matchday two. Insigne was also on target in a 2-2 draw at Paris and scored for the third successive UEFA Champions League match to earn a 1-1 draw against the French club last time out.

• Napoli are unbeaten in this season's competition, but have won only three of their last ten UEFA Champions League matches (D3 L4) – all those victories coming at the Stadio San Paolo.

• Serie A runners-up in 2017/18, Napoli are in the group stage for the fifth time – all in the last eight seasons. They reached the round of 16 in 2011/12 and 2016/17.

• The Italian club finished third in their section last season – winning two of their three home matches and losing the other – and went on to the UEFA Europa League round of 32, where they lost to RB Leipzig.

• The Serie A side have lost two of their last five home European matches. However, they have suffered only four losses in their last 28 European home fixtures (W17 D7).

• The draw against Paris means Napoli have won only three of their last eight home games in the UEFA Champions League, group stage to final; they have lost three in that sequence.

• The Naples outfit have won only one of their six matches against Serbian opposition (D3 L2) – a 3-1 home victory against OFK Beograd in the 1962/63 European Cup Winners' Cup quarter-final second leg, although they went on to lose the replay by the same score.

Watch Crvena zvezda claim Serbia's first group win
Watch Crvena zvezda claim Serbia's first group win

Crvena zvezda 
• Crvena zvezda's first game in the UEFA Champions League proper was the goalless draw at home to Napoli on matchday one, but they were beaten 6-1 at Paris in their second fixture, equalling their biggest margin of defeat in European competition. Another heavy defeat followed at Liverpool (0-4) before two Milan Pavkov goals secured a first group victory, 2-0 at the expense of last season's runners-up. It was the first victory by a Serbian club in the UEFA Champions League proper – at the 16th attempt.

• Before matchday two, Crvena zvezda had lost only once in 14 European games; despite losing at Paris and Liverpool, they have still only suffered three defeats in their last 17 (W6 D8).

• The Belgrade club have won two of their six European away games this season, and have lost only three of their last ten (W3 D4) – in Paris, Liverpool and 1-0 at CSKA Moskva in last season's UEFA Europa League round of 32 second leg to lose by the same aggregate scoreline. They had conceded only four goals in eight away fixtures before shipping ten in total on matchdays two and three.

• Champions of Serbia in 2017/18, Crvena zvezda came through four qualifying rounds to reach the group stage – the first time they had successfully negotiated the UEFA Champions League preliminaries at the seventh attempt.

• Crvena zvezda kicked off this season in the first qualifying round, where they got the better of Latvia's Spartaks Jūrmala 2-0 on aggregate. Lithuania's Sūduva were beaten 5-0 over two legs in the second qualifying round, before extra time secured a 2-1 away win at Slovakia's Spartak Trnava in the third qualifying round second leg to complete a 3-2 aggregate victory. They came from 2-0 down to draw at Salzburg in the play-off second leg, going through on away goals after a 2-2 aggregate draw.

• Crvena zvezda have won only two of their 20 fixtures against Italian clubs, most recently a 3-1 home win against Roma in the 2005/06 UEFA Cup group stage – their sole home success. Their record home and away since then is D2 L3.

• The Belgrade club have won only once in Italy (D3 L5), and have lost on their last three visits, failing to score each time.

• This is only the third season Serbia has had a team in the group stage, after Partizan's participations in 2003/04 and 2010/11.

#UCL matchday four skillszone
#UCL matchday four skillszone

Links and trivia
• Napoli's Serbian centre-back Nikola Maksimović was at Crvena zvezda in 2012, scoring once in his 25 appearances.

• Have played in Italy:
Nenad Krstičić (Sampdoria, 2008–16, Bologna 2014/15 loan)
Marko Marin (Fiorentina 2014)
Richmond Boakye (Genoa 2010–12, Sassuolo 2011/12 & 2012/13 loans, Juventus 2012–14, Atalanta 2014/15, Latina 2016–17)

• International team-mates:
Nenad Krstičić, Milan Rodić & Nikola Maksimović (Serbia)

Latest news

• Napoli have won four of their last six Serie A games, including a 2-1 success at Genoa on 10 November.

• The exception in that sequence of wins was a 1-1 draw against Roma on 28 October, Napoli's first Serie A stalemate this season (W9 L2). A second followed on Sunday as Chievo earned a 0-0 draw in Naples.

• Lorenzo Insigne is Napoli's leading scorer this term with seven goals in 12 Serie A games and three in four UEFA Champions League outings.

• Sunday marked only the second time Napoli have failed to score in Serie A this season, after the 3-0 defeat at Sampdoria on 2 September.

• Marek Hamšík made his 512th Napoli appearance against Paris on matchday four, overtaking the all-time club record set by former defender Giuseppe Bruscolotti.

• On 17 November Mário Rui helped Portugal to earn a 0-0 draw away to Insigne's Italy as the visitors reached the UEFA Nations League Finals.

• Arkadiusz Milik scored a penalty in Poland's 1-1 draw against Portugal three days later, although his side were already relegated from League A.

• Simone Verdi has not played since suffering a thigh injury against Udinese on 20 October. When he resumed training with the team, he twisted his left ankle. Amin Younes has not played since undergoing an operation on a ruptured Achilles tendon shortly after joining in the summer.

• Goalkeeper Alex Meret is yet to make his Napoli debut after breaking his arm soon after joining this summer. Faouzi Ghoulam underwent knee surgery in July having not played since 1 November 2017 and has been an an unused substitute in Napoli's last four games.

• Vlad Chiricheş ruptured the cruciate ligament in his left knee in Romania's game against Montenegro on 7 September.

• Kalidou Koulibaly has been named on a five-man shortlist for the BBC African Footballer of the Year award.

Crvena zvezda
• The defeat in Paris on matchday two ended Crvena zvezda's 34-match unbeaten run in all competitions (W26 D8), stretching back to the 1-0 loss at CSKA Moskva in last season's UEFA Europa League round of 32 second leg, although they did lose on penalties in the Serbian Cup against Mačva on 14 March after a 0-0 draw.

• Crvena zvezda are 43 matches unbeaten in the Serbian Super League (W38 D5), since a 1-0 loss against Napredak on 1 October 2017.

• The Serbian champions won their first seven games in this season's Super League, making it 17 in a row, before being held 1-1 at Belgrade rivals Partizan on 23 September. They won their next eight matches but were held to a 2-2 draw at second-placed Radnicki Niš on Saturday, keeping them nine points clear at the top of the table..

• El Fardou Ben Nabouhane scored nine goals in his first 11 matches for Crvena zvezda this season, but has only two in his last nine, although he was on target on Saturday.

• Richmond Boakye has five goals in four league appearances this season.

• Crvena zvezda reached the Serbian Cup quarter-finals with a 4-1 home win against second division side Bačka Topola on 21 November.

• Ben Nabouhane made it four goals in his last four international appearances for Comoros with the opener in a 2-1 CAF Africa Cup of Nations qualifying win against Malawi on 17 November.

• Milan Pavkov, Boakye, Vujadin Savić, Dušan Jovančić and Goran Čaušić are all carrying minor injuries.