Can Bassey stop Napoli’s rampant attack?


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• Onyedika set for Atletico clash
• Sanusi’s Porto battles Leverkusen

Dutch giants Ajax will be banking on Nigerian defender Calvin Bassey to stop the rampaging attack of Napoli when they host the Italian side in a Champions League match-day three game at the Amsterdam Arena on Tuesday (today), PUNCH Sports Extra reports.

Ajax, currently third in Group A, made a promising start to the competition, defeating Glasgow Rangers 4-0, which was followed by a 2-1 defeat to Liverpool at Anfield.

Bassey has been dominant in his one-vs-one tussles for the Eredivisie side, helping them to five clean sheets, seven wins, a draw and two defeats and will be tested by the Partenopei, who are currently the best attacking side in Europe this season.

Napoli have made a terrific start to life in 2022/23 and are unbeaten in all competitions. They sit top of both Serie A and Champions League Group A under manager Luciano Spalletti.

In the Champions League, Napoli has scored seven goals from their two matches, the most by any team in the tournament. In Serie A, they hold the best offensive record, having netted 18 goals in eight matches, while they have also been tight at the other end, conceding just six times.

Speaking with PUNCH Sports Extra, former Ajax winger, Finidi George, believes Bassey and his teammates can curtail Napoli’s fearsome attack.

“They (Napoli) look scared going forward but as a unit, he (Bassey) and his Ajax teammates can curtail them,” Finidi said.

“It is not going to be easy but they have a chance,” Finidi said.

Spalletti masterminded an eye-catching performance on match-day one against 2021-22 finalists Liverpool at the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium, where a double from Piotr Zielinski, alongside goals from Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa and Giovanni Simeone gave the hosts a thumping victory, despite a Luis Diaz reply to reduce the arrears.

In the second round of matches, Napoli continued their ruthless form at Rangers, with a 3-0 win, with Matteo Politano’s spot kick and late strikes from Giacomo Raspadori and Tanguy Ndombele sealing the victory.

At the Jan Breydel Stadium in Belgium, Raphael Onyedika is expected to make his third start for Club Brugges against Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid after he was listed in the club’s match-day squad today.

Carl Hoefkens’s side are currently sitting third in the Belgian Pro League, but they have been impressive in Europe, after bagging two wins from two — a 1-0 home victory over Bayer Leverkusen was followed by a remarkable 4-0 away victory at Porto.

Both teams will be missing players for this crunch meeting in Group B, so it will be interesting to see which team adapts better.

Porto’s Nigerian defender Zaidu Sanusi looks set to make his 19th appearance in the competition against Leverkusen in a match that could have severe ramifications in Group B.

The hosts come into the tie fresh off the back of their first win in three across all competitions, while the visitors enter the fray seeking a reaction from a heavy defeat against Bayern Munich on Friday, which ended their four-match unbeaten run.

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