Own goal hands Napoli late Champions League win at Braga

football20 September 2023 21:31| © AFP

Napoli escaped Sporting Braga with a 2-1 win in their Champions League opener on Wednesday after a Sikou Niakate own goal handed the Italians the points in the final minutes.

Rudi Garcia's side looked to be sharing the spoils in Portugal when Bruma flicked home a perfect header from Rodrigo Zalazar's cross with six minutes remaining after Giovanni Di Lorenzo had opened the scoring for Napoli on the stroke of halftime.

But with two minutes to go Niakate thumped Piotr Zielinski's cross into his own net to give Napoli the Group C win at a soaking Estadio Municipal.

Napoli are level on three points with Real Madrid, who beat Union Berlin 1-0 and travel to Napoli in their next fixture early next month.

And the Italian champions will need to be more clinical in front of goal against one of the tournament favourites after missing a host of first-half opportunities and allowing Braga back into the match.

Garcia's team could have been leading Braga, in the Champions League group stage for the first time since 2012, by three or four goals by the break.

And in the end Napoli had to be thankful that Pizzi's stoppage-time effort somehow stayed out after crashing into the inside of Alex Meret's near post.