Napoli Advances to Champions League QF for 1st Time

Napoli's Polish midfielder Piotr Zieliński (C) celebrates with Napoli's Italian defender Giovanni Di Lorenzo (L) and Napoli's Georgian forward Khvicha Kvaratskhelia after scoring a penalty and his side's third goal during the UEFA Champions League round of 16, second leg football match between SSC Napoli and Eintracht Frankfurt at the Diego-Maradona stadium in Naples on March 15, 2023. (AFP)
Napoli's Polish midfielder Piotr Zieliński (C) celebrates with Napoli's Italian defender Giovanni Di Lorenzo (L) and Napoli's Georgian forward Khvicha Kvaratskhelia after scoring a penalty and his side's third goal during the UEFA Champions League round of 16, second leg football match between SSC Napoli and Eintracht Frankfurt at the Diego-Maradona stadium in Naples on March 15, 2023. (AFP)
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Napoli Advances to Champions League QF for 1st Time

Napoli's Polish midfielder Piotr Zieliński (C) celebrates with Napoli's Italian defender Giovanni Di Lorenzo (L) and Napoli's Georgian forward Khvicha Kvaratskhelia after scoring a penalty and his side's third goal during the UEFA Champions League round of 16, second leg football match between SSC Napoli and Eintracht Frankfurt at the Diego-Maradona stadium in Naples on March 15, 2023. (AFP)
Napoli's Polish midfielder Piotr Zieliński (C) celebrates with Napoli's Italian defender Giovanni Di Lorenzo (L) and Napoli's Georgian forward Khvicha Kvaratskhelia after scoring a penalty and his side's third goal during the UEFA Champions League round of 16, second leg football match between SSC Napoli and Eintracht Frankfurt at the Diego-Maradona stadium in Naples on March 15, 2023. (AFP)

Napoli beat Eintracht Frankfurt 3-0 on Wednesday to reach the Champions League quarterfinals for the first time in its history — and making it three Italian teams in the final eight.

Victor Osimhen continued his fine scoring record with a goal in each half and Piotr Zieliński converted a penalty in the second half as Napoli advanced 5-0 on aggregate.

Osimhen took his tally to 23 goals this season.

“It’s amazing to make history with this win, I’m happy to score two goals,” the Nigeria international said. “We want to keep on going like this, it’s beautiful to advance in this competition.

“I think I did a great game. The whole team did a great match against a very good team. We want to go on like this.”

It is the first time since 2006 that three Italian teams have progressed to the quarterfinals of Europe’s premier club competition.

But Osimhen believes Napoli could stun everyone and go all the way.

“We keep on dreaming, we have the squad to do so,” he said when asked if Napoli could win the Champions League.

“We are on the right path, with a great coach. We’ll see what the future holds for us, I think we have a good chance.”

There are no further restrictions on teams from the same country facing each other so Napoli could be pitted against Inter Milan or AC Milan when the draw is made on Friday. The other teams in the final eight are Bayern Munich, Benfica, Chelsea, Manchester City and Real Madrid.

Real Madrid beat Liverpool 1-0 in Wednesday’s other match to advance 6-2 on aggregate.

Napoli was brimming with confidence heading into the match at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona as it had a 2-0 lead from the first leg in Germany and appears to be a lock for the Serie A title.

There was trouble in Naples during the day as around 600 Frankfurt fans descended on the city, despite not being allowed into the match, but there didn’t appear to be any more incidents at the stadium.

Napoli pressed hard for the goal that would all but seal its place in the quarterfinals and Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, who has been a revelation this season, had a couple of chances in the first half but Frankfurt goalkeeper Kevin Trapp kept his team in the match.

The deadlock was broken in first-half stoppage time when Stanislav Lobotka gathered a loose ball and sent it through to Matteo Politano, who whipped in a cross from the right for a towering header by Osimhen.

Osimhen — who also scored in the first leg — doubled his tally on the night, eight minutes after the break, as he tapped in a cross from Giovanni Di Lorenzo, following good work by Kvaratskhelia in the buildup.

And Napoli was out of sight in the 64th when Zieliński was tripped by Djibril Sow and the midfielder dusted himself down to drill the resulting penalty down the middle.



Liverpool Great Alan Hansen Released from Hospital

Former Liverpool and Scotland defender Alan Hansen. Asharq Al-Awsat
Former Liverpool and Scotland defender Alan Hansen. Asharq Al-Awsat
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Liverpool Great Alan Hansen Released from Hospital

Former Liverpool and Scotland defender Alan Hansen. Asharq Al-Awsat
Former Liverpool and Scotland defender Alan Hansen. Asharq Al-Awsat

Former Liverpool and Scotland defender Alan Hansen has been released from hospital and will now continue his recovery at home.
A statement from his family on Sunday thanked fans for their support after Liverpool said two weeks ago that its former captain was “seriously ill in hospital.”
The family's statement said: “Alan has been discharged from hospital today to continue his recovery at home.
“Alan, Janet, Adam, Lucy and family would like to thank everybody for their wonderful messages of love and support ... We also hugely appreciate the ongoing respect that has been shown for our privacy as Alan continues his recovery. Thank you.”
Hansen, who is 69, joined Liverpool from Scottish team Partick Thistle in 1977. The defender won three European Cups, eight league titles, two FA Cups and three League Cups in 620 appearances for Liverpool.
He retired in 1991 to start a successful career as a television pundit.