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Porto eke out narrow Napoli win

FC Porto 1-0 SSC Napoli
Jackson Martínez's deflected shot beat Pepe Reina on 57 minutes, but Napoli will not be disheartened by the manner of their defeat.

Jackson Martínez after putting Porto in front against Napoli
Jackson Martínez after putting Porto in front against Napoli ©AFP/Getty Images

Jackson Martínez's 57th-minute strike edged FC Porto in front in their UEFA Europa League round of 16 tie against SSC Napoli, but Rafael Benítez's side will fancy their chances of turning the tide in Italy.

The Colombia forward seized on a loose ball following a Ricardo Quaresma corner, and fired in an angled effort that beat Pepe Reina with the help of a touch off Raúl Albiol. However, Napoli had their chances, and with Porto having lost three of their four games on Italian soil since the turn of the millennium, there should be intrigue aplenty in the return fixture next week.

With so much at stake, neither team showed their hand in the early stages, though Porto might have been comfortably ahead by the interval had luck gone their way. Pepe Reina threw out a hand to make an instinctive save on 12 minutes after a cross from the right fell at Martínez's feet barely five metres out. Luís Castro's side then had a Carlos Eduardo attempt ruled out for offside after pulling the Napoli defence out of shape.

The second half was a free-for-all by comparison. Reina was at full stretch to fend off Fernando's bending drive within three minutes of the restart, before Helton – through a combination of luck and judgement – managed to keep out two Gonzalo Higuaín shots and a downward header from Albiol. However, the action swiftly switched ends, and Martínez promptly made the breakthrough.

It could have been worse for Napoli as the pace picked up again towards the end. Miguel Britos put in a heroic challenge to protect his goal with Reina off balance eight minutes from time, but his attempted clearance ricocheted back off Porto's Juan Quintero, the ball bouncing against the upright before the visitors smuggled it away from danger.