Shakhtar Donetsk defeated Napoli 2-1 at Stadion Metalist to open up both clubs’ UEFA Champions League campaigns on Wednesday night.
Maurizio Sarri’s squad didn’t display their usual, revered style of play, especially in the first half. The Partenopei defense made crucial mistakes and the midfield was just not up to par. Sarri may have even disbursed starting XI wrong, proven by the side’s play after his substitutions.
Here’s an evaluation for each of Napoli’s player in the loss.
Pepe Reina (4.5): The Spaniard had a tough night. He could have done more on the home side’s first goal. Taison did well to take a shot on a bouncing ball, but Reina was too slow getting down to the ball. He got a hand to it, but it wasn’t enough to stop the ball from entering the bottom corner. The second goal seems almost unforgivable when Reina failed to come out and punch a long cross away from danger, which lead to an easy header. The 35-year-old even struggled to control shots taken centrally. Reina’s only good deed was the save on Taison’s breakaway shortly after his first goal.
Elseid Hysaj (5.5): The Albanian international had a solid night defensively, but didn’t do anything special. Shakhtar seemed to attack the other side of the field more. He didn’t offer much in attack moving down the right flank, and even lost the ball at times when isolated.
Raul Albiol (5.5): Albiol made some inaccurate passes, but was fairly decent in that regard. The Spanish veteran also had some decent closures, but missed the most important close out on Taison’s opener.
Kalidou Koulibaly (5): The Senegalese had a lot to do tonight, especially against the counter. Napoli’s midfield may have let the defender down a bit too much as he was called upon time after time to recover and stop any dangerous attack. Koulibaly committed many fouls in this match giving Shakhtar multiple set pieces, and he also failed to communicate with Ghoulam on Shakhtar’s second.
Faouzi Ghoulam (5.5): Although the second goal came due to Reina’s failure to clear, he failed to communicate with Koulibaly. The Algerian struggled to recover defensively, especially since he was always helping in the attack. Ghoulam’s crosses weren’t perfect, but he never stopped trying to create chances.
Piotr Zielinski (5): Zielinski received the start after his recent performances in the Serie A. However, the Pole didn’t contribute much, especially in the attack. He had to focus his attention on Shakhtar’s counters.
Amadou Diawara (5.5): The 20-year-old midfielder had a rough start to the match. Like his fellow midfielders, he had to keep running back on defense. Diawara also struggled to pass the ball accurately. The youngster was better in the second half.
Marek Hamsik (5): Like his teammates, Hamsik started the match poorly. The captain hasn’t looked nearly like his usual self to start off the season. His passing wasn’t up to Hamsik standards, but he created a chance for Insigne, who failed to convert.
Jose Callejon (5.5): The Spanish winger contributed defensively as always, and made runs in the attack, but didn’t do much in this match. Callejon took a shot on goal from an Insigne assist, but Andriy Pyatov made the save.
Arkadiusz Milik (5.5): The Polish international scored Napoli’s lone goal of the night via a well-taken penalty. Milik made good runs, but was caught offside a couple of times and failed to do better on some of his chances. The most important chance besides his goal came at the end of the match, where he skied it over Pyatov and the bar within the box.
Lorenzo Insigne (5.5): Insigne’s performance was definitely far from his best on Wednesday. Insigne mostly lacked his usual moments of quality. The winger had one curler that Pyatov was forced to save, but made a mess of a chance set up by Hamsik earlier.
Dries Mertens (7): The Belgian came in for Hamsik in the 60th minute and changed the match. In only 30 minutes, Mertens was Napoli’s best player and showed that he should have started. He won the penalty for Milik to finish, and he allowed Napoli to control the ball much more. The forward showed his dribbling ability and opened Shakhtar’s defense.
Allan (6): Allan came on and brought lots of energy as did Mertens. The Brazilian contributed in the midfield battle and slowed down the opposition. He probably should have started in this match.