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Ramos rides to the rescue as title holders Real survive Napoli scare

Napoli 1-3 Real Madrid (Real Madrid win 6-2 on aggregate)

By Robert Jones

Sergio Ramos was Real Madrid's saviour once again as two goals in six second-half minutes killed off Napoli's hopes of sending the Champions League holders out of the competition.

The Italians had taken the lead through Dries Mertens to put them to within one goal of levelling the aggregate score only for Ramos - no stranger to heroics when his Real team need inspiration - to power home a 51st-minute header from Toni Kroos' delivery.

That sent shockwaves round the Stadio San Paolo, where Napoli had previously been utterly dominant and looking on course to oust Zinedine Zidane's men.

If home fans felt that a Real leveller on the night was unjust, they will have barely been able to believe their eyes as the Spaniards pulled ahead shortly afterwards - with Kroos and Ramos once again combining to devastating effect.

Once again, Kroos supplied a wicked cross into the area where the ever-reliable Ramos rose to convert and, though it was the unfortunate Mertens who was attributed with the final touch, there was no denying that Real were firmly in control of proceedings.

Their spirits bust and needing four goals to qualify, Napoli's misery was complete when Alvaro Morata extended the visitors' lead in injury-time.

Belfast Telegraph


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