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Napoli can grab the win to nil needed to progress past Porto

| 20.03.2014

Having failed to register an away goal in the first leg of their tie with Porto, Rafa Benitez’s Napoli side must rely on a home win to ensure progression to the Europa League quarter finals at the expense of the Portuguese club.

Going in Napoli’s favour is a very strong home record to rival that of any in Europe, as the Italians last tasted defeat at the Stadio San Paolo a dozen games ago, which is their sole defeat in Naples all season in competitive matches.

Meanwhile, Porto are nothing like as fearsome on their travels as they are at the Estadio do Dragao, where they are winless in three successive away games and have actually lost five of their last nine on the road all told.

A straight up win for Rafa’s boys is accordingly priced at 10/11, the draw 12/5 and a Porto win a stretch on paper at 3/1.

However, this is European knock-out football, and a straight-up victory for Napoli may not be enough should they let their sheets be sullied by Porto, as the hosts would suddenly require three goals to go through.

But we believe a home win to nil can be achieved at rather more attractive odds of 11/5 given the evidence.

Pepe Reina’s inspired form in the Napoli net has certainly been a contributing factor in the clean sheets the Serie A side have kept in the two games which have sandwiched their first-leg loss.

Marshalled by Raul Albiol, that defence has actually kept five clean sheets from their last eight competitive outings ahead of this tie.

Meanwhile, it was 10 games ago that Rafa’s mob last conceded more than once in front of the San Paolo faithful.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Christian Crowther

Give Christian a sport with anything remotely spherical in it and he’ll happily while away the hours watching it on the box. However, he’d much prefer writing about, playing or betting on golf, football, cricket, tennis, snooker.... you get the picture.