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Napoli brilliance too much for Legia

Legia 0-2 Napoli
Dries Mertens helped himself to a third goal in two outings as Maurizio Sarri's side registered a second consecutive victory in Group D.

Gonzalo Higuaín celebrates after doubling Napoli's advantage at Legia
Gonzalo Higuaín celebrates after doubling Napoli's advantage at Legia ©AFP/Getty Images
  • Dries Mertens nods Napoli in front – his third strike in two Group D games
  • Substitute Gonzalo Higuaín secures second consecutive Partenopei win
  • Legia suffer first European home defeat in four Warsaw outings this season
  • In-form Legia forward Nemanja Nikolić benched
  • Next games: Legia v Club Brugge, Midtjylland v Napoli (22 October)

Dries Mertens and Gonzalo Higuaín struck in each half as Napoli ended Legia Warszawa's three-game winning run at home in Europe this season to maintain their own perfect start to the UEFA Europa League Group D campaign.

Having triumphed in all three UEFA home matches this term – all by a one-goal margin – the hosts could approach matchday two in confident mood. However, Napoli arrived in Warsaw after recording their joint-biggest European victory two weeks ago, beating Club Brugge 5-0 in Naples.

The Polish outfit surprisingly began the contest without in-form striker Nemanja Nikolić, who has notched ten goals in as many 2015/16 league games. Even so, it was Henning Berg's charges who created the first opening. Aleksandar Prijovic pounced on a mis-hit back pass by Kalidou Koulibaly before finding Ivan Tričkovski who failed to find the target. Soon after, Prijovic almost caught Napoli goalkeeper Gabriel off his line. The visitors responded on 27 minutes when David López had an effort cleared off the line.

Napoli celebrate
Napoli celebrate©AFP/Getty Images

Napoli took control after the interval and broke the deadlock via Mertens's powerful header at the near post after meeting José Callejón's right-wing cross. The Belgian international had struck twice last time out and continued his goalscoring streak in Poland.

Tričkovski, Tomasz Brzyski and substitute Nikolić all threatened as the Legionisci sought a route back into the match. However, Legia custodian Dušan Kuciak twice had to deny Allan from close range before Maurizio Sarri's men doubled their advantage with an emphatic Higuaín finish. The Argentina ace evaded two challenges on the edge of the box before smashing the ball into the top corner with his right boot to ensure top spot in the section.

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