Napoli defeated Genoa 2-0 in front of a big crowd on Friday night at the Stadio San Paolo.
The home team kept its twinned club in check, while making most of its chances for the victory. Piotr Zielinski scored the match’s opening goal in the 50th minute on a well-hit, well-placed first-timer. Then, the Azzurri’s in-form forward Dries Mertens set up Emanuele Giaccherini who slotted home Napoli’s second in the 58th minute.
Maurizio Sarri inserted Giaccherini into the lineup for suspended Jose Callejon. The Italian winger spoke to Sky Sport after the match, making it very clear what their focus was.
“Surely the guys and I, we all went on the field with our heads focused on Genoa and not on Real Madrid. We knew it was a difficult game. Genoa plays one-on-one all over the field; we were super marked [by Genoa].”
The veteran has not seen much playing time this season, having featured in just 227 total minutes in Serie A play. However, Giaccherini has to his name a goal in the Coppa Italia, along with Friday’s tally.
Giaccherini’s attitude remained professional about his playing time and he said he works to prepare himself for whenever he is called upon.
“I work all week and all year to always be available to the coach. Then, he makes the choices. I today and others tomorrow; when players are called upon, they must answer. This is our job and we are professionals.”
Napoli can now turn its attention to its clash with Real Madrid in the Champions League on Wednesday. The match will be in Spain and is the first leg in the competition’s Round of 16 stage.
Giaccherini admitted that it’s exciting to play in these type of matches.
“It’s definitely great to play these games, especially against Real Madrid in the Champions League. Most of our team has never played there. It would be beautiful to live this moment. We will go there to play our game and play it as best as possible.”
Sky Sport asked Giaccherini if getting a result against Real Madrid is an impossible feat.
“I don’t think anything is impossible.”