Giacomo Raspadori scored twice as Napoli rallied from a goal down to defeat 10-man Ajax Amsterdam 6-1 in the Champions League on Tuesday.
After Mohammed Kudus gave the hosts the lead inside the first 10 minutes, captain Giovanni di Lorenzo, Piotr Zielinski, Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, and substitute Giovanni Simeone scored for the Italian league leaders.
Napoli has a 100% record at the halfway mark in Group A, leaving Ajax with three points from its first three games and in danger of missing out on next year’s knockout stages after its greatest defeat in European football.
Ajax coach Alfred Schreuder had cautioned about Napoli’s attacking danger on the day of the game, but he would not have anticipated his team to be so comprehensively outwitted.
Ajax, who had previously lost against Liverpool, took the lead in the ninth minute when Kenneth Taylor’s goal-bound effort hit teammate Kudus on the shin and rebounded into the corner of the net.
It was the lone highlight for the sold-out crowd at the Amsterdam Arena, as Napoli quickly worked its way into the game, pressuring Ajax into mistakes, ripping them apart with quick attacking plays, and finishing with finesse.
Raspadori equalised in the 18th minute with a diving header at the back post at the end of Mathias Olivera’s cross from the right.
A simple corner routine saw Kvaratskhelia, who continued to demonstrate his developing name in European football, provide a cross for Di Lorenzo to slam home a header for a second goal.
Napoli’s lead was extended on the stroke of halftime, with Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa storming forward from his own half and setting up Zielinski for the finish.
Two minutes after the break, Zambo Anguissa snatched possession as Ajax tried to pass their way out of defence, setting up Raspadori for his second goal.
In the 63rd minute, Kvaratskhelia made it 5-1 by demonstrating strength and cunning in a simple one-two passing move with Raspadori.
The damage was already irreparable when Ajax captain Dusan Tadic was sent off and Napoli continue to press home its advantage, with Simeone scoring the sixth in the 81st minute.
The two clubs meet again next Wednesday in Italy where Napoli can make sure of progress to the next stage.