Date: September 18, 2014
Venue: Stadio San Paolo, Naples, Italy
Kick-off time: 20.05 hours BST
This Group I fixture in the Europa League will be played between Napoli and Sparta Prague.
Napoli has played two matches in the Serie A; they recently concluded match against Chievo Verona by a fine margin at home. The visiting side, Sparta Prague were held to a draw by Teplice in the Czech League in the previous match.
Napoli SSC form: L-D-L-W-L
Napoli’s shock defeat at the hands of Chievo Verona baffled many Serie A fans and there’s more importance attached to this game now. Last year’s Champions League campaign was not great, with the Napoli side missing out by a fine margin. Even in the Serie A, Benitez’s men failed to win the Scudetto after being in the race for large parts of the season.
At home, Napoli should be able to get three points against the Czech side.
Sparta Prague form: L-W-W-W-D
The Czech League contenders are on second spot in the league table behind Viktoria Plzen (on goal difference). Their previous game against mid-table side, Teplice was a draw which dented their chances of leapfrogging the current league leaders.
Against Napoli, they will be facing a stronger European side from an elite league. Will they pull out a rabbit from their hat like Verona? Only time will tell.
Napoli SSC: Gonzalo Higuain
After switching to Italy last year, the Argentine striker has been on a swansong. At Real Madrid he was considered as a bit part player, but at Napoli he has flourished as a more responsible forward. Along with Jose Callejon and Lorenzo Insigne, he made sure that nobody of the departed stars were missed.
Sparta Prague: David Lafata
The journeyman, who celebrates his 33rd birthday on the match day, will be looking forward to Europa League start. A five goal haul in the qualifying stages was his best performance in Europe till date.
Napoli have the firepower to not only dominate the proceedings in this match but also get all the three points in this Group I fixture. Bet365 offer 1.44 for a Napoli victory with the same bookmaker also offering 2.0 for less than 2.5 goals to be scored in the game.