8 March 2019
After suffering a painful 2-1 home defeat to Juventus in Serie A, Napoli turn their attention back to Europe’s secondary club competition as they host Red Bull Salzburg to the Stadio San Paolo.
The hosts have comfortably trashed Zurich 5-1 on aggregate after joining the Europa League knockout stage from the Champions League Group C. Before losing to the Bianconeri at the weekend, the Blues have boasted an almost perfect home record (W14, D4). Moreover, Carlo Ancelotti’s men have clinched three wins in four European home outings (W3, D1), scoring seven goals while conceding just two. The Turin giants are one of two teams that have managed to score over 1.5 goals per match at the San Paolo this season as Napoli prevented their rivals from scoring in 11 of 18 home games across all competitions. Additionally, the Partenopei’s attack seems to be functioning nearly impeccable over the past couple of months, having netted 2+ match goals in five of Napoli’s last seven home contests.
On the other hand, the visitors have entered this round thanks to a 4-0 hammering of Club Brugge in the return leg after suffering a 2-1 defeat in the first leg. The reigning Austrian holders have won just two of their last five away meetings across all competitions (W2, D1, L2), which could be their biggest setback in this fixture. Apart from that, a lack of experience at the international scene could influence Salzburg’s performance in this encounter as well as the fact they’ve lost seven of 12 H2H meetings with the Italian sides (W3, D2, L7). Nonetheless, goals have not been in short supply in the majority of Salzburg’s road clashes lately, as five of their last six away races produced over 2.5 goals, with Marco Rose’s players scoring 2+ match goals four times along the way.
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