Sparta Praha managed to sustain their unbeaten run in Group I after a 0-0 draw with Italian Serie A side Napoli who are now through to the Uefa Europa League last 32.The match was very interesting with the as Sparta are leading even though they are still level with Napoli on nine points.The home team did not hesitate but started attacking from the start when Dockal strike on the right was saved by Napoli goalkeeper Rafael Cabral.
The home side came back again a few minutes later and almost scored when Josef Husbauer good shot hit the crossbar just inside the box.The ball was a rebound and came back to Latafa to finish up but goalkeeper Cabral used his flexibility to touched the good header away.Both these are chances that Sparta Praha should have converted as they were backed by the home crowd.
The second half saw Raul Albiol deflect a threatening corner by Jose Callejon’s which was cleared away by Latafa almost testing goalkeeper Marek Stech in the Sparta goal posts.Napoli came again with Callejon attempting to score but his short was blocked, Napoli were not consistent with their attacking and did not give the home defence any major problems.
The Italian outfit Napoli were also tight at the back but Marek Matejovsky’s tested them again with a good short outside the box which saw ball hit the crossbar again.Sparta Praha tried to create more chances but they just couldn’t brake the Serie A former champions defense. Napoli will finish at number 2 in the group if they loose or draw the next game but if they win they will top the table.
Napoli is one of the Italian teams that have been struggling to win European competitions, the club has not been able to compete effectively in the last couple of seasons.The club hopes to change their misfortune this season, even though the Serie A side has lost quality players like Edinson Cavani they still have capable strikers like the Argentine forward Gonzalo Higuan who can take the team to the Europa League finals.
Napoli are seeking to also compete well in the domestic league and possibly put themselves in the position that will allow them to race for the Serie A tittle. They have a task of at least claiming one of the cups between Serie A and Europa league.The Italian side have an advantage of doing well in the European competition as they have already qualified for the next stage.
Napoli is one of the richest teams in the world and this has not been seen in their performance lately,the team will have to purchase a couple of quality players if they want to compete in Europe like other big teams such as Juventus , Real Madrid , Bayern Munich, Chelsea and other bigger clubs that invest in acquiring good players to compete.
Napoli FC historical background
The Italy based side was established in 1926 at the city called Staples. The club has won two league tittles in the Serie A and five Coppa Italia cups, the side has also won the Supercoppa Italian twice.In 2008 Napoli managed to qualify for the UEFA Cup but was later eliminated by the Portugal based side Benfica in the first round.Napoli had an impressive start domestically in the Serie A when that season began but lost consistency and declined to 11th place on the log table,this resulted to the sacking of their manager Edy Reja early in 2009.
The following season saw Napoli buying a couple of quality players but still began the season poorly,eventually the then head coach Donadoni was sacked and this saw Walter Mazzari being a new coach for the club.Mazzari took the team to new heights finishing sixth in the log table and thus qualifying for the Europa Cup.The team signed top star players such as Edinson Cavani who helped them finish third place in the 2010-2011 season and automatically qualifying for the UEFA Champions League
Napoli is regarded as the most successful club in Southern Italy and is ranked number five in the most valuable clubs in Italy and 22 in the world.It is estimated that the club generated over 116 million euros in the 2013 financial year. The team is a member of the European Club Association and is ranked number 15 in the richest football clubs in the world.