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Champions League Qualifier: Napoli too good for Nice
Ligue 1 meets Serie A as Nice host Napoli for the Champions League play-off second leg where the French side are looking to stage a come back.
This is the home side’s first appearance in the Champions League in the modern era, having already eliminated Ajax in the 3rd Qualifying Round on away goals.
This will be a much more difficult task.
Napoli are leading the tie 2-0 on aggregate, meaning Nice missed out on the opportunity to register potentially precious goals away from home. The Italian outfit dominated the match and were the far better team on the night, registering 18 shots on goal, compared to Nice’s zero.
Dries Mertens and Jorginho netted a goal each, which was exacerbated by the two red cards received by Nice ten minutes from the end of the match – attackers Alassane Plea and Vincent Koziello will now be absent from this evening’s clash.
Mertens netted an impressive 33 goals last season, with five of those goals coming in his eight Champions League appearances. The Belgian attacker is 2.68 to score first.
Nice have won just three of their 11 recent European games and were the losing team for six of those fixtures and only scoring in six of the 11 games.
Napoli are a more seasoned Champions League team and I think they will be fine tonight, but they should be wary of future opposition as they’re not equipped to take on the best of the best.
They have won four, drawn two, and lost three of their last nine Champions League matches, falling twice last season to current champions Real Madrid.
Nice have a decent chance of scoring, seeing as Napoli have only kept one clean sheet in their 12 Champions League games.
Napoli did, however, only fail to score once in those dozen matches, winning four, drawing two and losing six.
The psychological upper hand is, of course, with Napoli going into the game – they know that if they get just one away goal then their opponents will have to net four times.
I can’t see Nice turning this around so I’m backing Napoli for the win at 1.76 with Sportsbet.io