By Victor Kanayo
Fresh from being crowned CAF player of the year in Morocco, Nigerian international, Victor Osimhen, Tuesday night scored to ensure that Napoli beat Sporting Braga 2-0 to qualify for the knockout stage of the UEFA Champions League.
The Italian champions qualified second in Group C behind Real Madrid, thanks to Serder Saatci’s clumsy own goal and Osimhen’s first goal since early October, both which came in the first half.
Walter Mazzarri’s side would have got through even with a single-goal defeat, but in the end comfortably qualified for the next round, snapping a six-match winless streak at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona.
A first win in Naples since beating Udinese in late September made sure that Napoli finished the group stage on 10 points, six ahead of Braga who drop down to the Europa League.
Red Devil Worst Ever Ouster Since 2005
Unlike Napoli, Manchester United have been kicked out of this season’s European competition prematurely.
This is after the Red Devils suffered a home loss to Bayern Munich which resulted in Erik ten Hag’s side finishing bottom of Champions League Group A.
After taking just four points from their opening five games, United went into Tuesday’s group finale needing to win to have any chance of staying in the tournament.
But a 1-0 defeat saw United finish in fourth place in a UCL group for the first time since 2005.
This was United’s worst Champions League campaign ever. The Manchester club had never previously earned fewer than six points in the group stage.
Still Worst Records
United also set a new unwanted record by shipping 15 goals in their six games – more than any Premier League team had ever conceded in a UCL group.
Tuesday’s defeat wrapped up a frustrating UCL campaign for United, who had taken the lead in three of the five group games that they failed to win.
United’s early exit from Europe could also make it more difficult for the club to qualify for next season’s Champions League.