FK Crvena zvezda – Napoli SOCCER PICKS
In an extremely heavy group with Paris Saint Germain and Liverpool, Napoli is not allowed to lose any points against Red Star Belgrade, the weak brother in the group. Winning in Belgrade is easier said than done.
Red Star Belgrade:
Red Star Belgrade is working on a strong 2018. The club from the Serbian capital last season seized the title in the Serbian Super League, survived no less than four qualifying rounds in the Champions League qualifying and won the first seven league games of the new season. CSKA Moscow was the last team to beat Red Star in February in the eighth finals of the Europa League.
As said before, the road to the group stage was very long for the Vladan Milojevic team. On July 11, Latvian champion Spartaks Jurmala was the opponents in the first qualifying round. In Latvia, 0-0 was played straight, then the job in Belgrade was completed with a 2-0 victory. In the second round, Red Star booked two victories (2-0 and 3-0) at the Lithuanian Suduva Marijampole. In the third preliminary round, 1-1 was played twice against the Slovak Spartak Trnava, after which the winning goal was made in the extra playing time.
The last hurdle was the Austrian Red Bull Salzburg. In home, there was no score, with which Salzburg had taken a comfortable 2-0 lead after 48 minutes. Champions League football was far away for Red Star, but two hits from Ben El Fardou (in the 65th and 66th minute) made the impossible possible. Based on the number of goals scored, the first CL participation since 1992 is a fact.
That Red Star could not have done worse than this Group C seems clear. However, the task will be even more difficult for the Serbs now that star player Nemanja Radonjic has been moved to Olympique Marseille for 12 million.
Napoli seemed on the way last season to break the Italian domination of Juventus. The Neapolitans competed for a long time for their first championship since 1990, but the team stranded under the guidance of success coach Sarri in sight of the port. 91 points from 38 games proved not enough to be champion, as Juventus gained no less than 95. That number three Internazionale gained no less than 14 points less than Napoli, is a sign on the wall that if there is a team in the coming years to push Juventus off the throne, this is Napoli.
Napoli also started well this season with nine points in four games. The new trainer Carlo Ancelotti will be especially satisfied with this number when he considers which teams have already been defeated: Lazio, AC Milan and Fiorentina. The unnecessary 3-0 defeat of visiting Sampdoria was the only downside this season.
Napoli has largely remained intact compared to last season. The only basic player left is Brazilian Brazilian Jorginho. The controlling midfielder followed his coach Sarri to Chelsea. As reinforcements, Fabian Ruiz, Alexander Meret and Simone Verdi, among others, were brought to Naples, as a result of which I Partenopei have become even stronger. With a Napoli in shape, group C can also become one of the most exciting groups.