Ahen the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona in Naples gradually quieted down after midnight, the city got really loud again. In the vicinity of the Eintracht Frankfurt team hotel, violent football fans from Italy sought a confrontation with German guests who were staying not far away. According to Italian media reports, they set off firecrackers and threw stones at the security forces, who were intent on separating the rival groups. The police were on site with a large contingent and used water cannons. It was the disturbing ending to what was originally intended to be a duel between two soccer teams.
But the round of 16 of the Champions League between SSC Napoli and Eintracht Frankfurt, which the Italians finally won 2-0 in the first leg in Germany with a 3-0 win on Wednesday evening in the second comparison, will be remembered less for what happened on the lawn. Already at the first meeting there were riots outside the Frankfurt Arena. Then followed days of legal wrangling over the admission of Eintracht supporters in the second leg, which resulted in the club waiving all guest tickets.
Nevertheless, hundreds of Frankfurters had traveled to the third largest Italian city. Already in the afternoon before the game there were clashes with local fans and the police. Even cars were on fire, chairs and firecrackers were flying through the air, a police helicopter was circling over the city center – the images were stunned. “These are the riots that we have had to fear since the day of the draw. We need to work this out completely. But that takes time,” said Eintracht board member Philipp Reschke, who is responsible for fan issues, before kick-off.
SSC Napoli is just too strong
After that, at least for a short time, sporting topics were the focus of the discussions. After the 0: 2 three weeks ago, the sixth in the Bundesliga had hoped for a turnaround in a duel with the first in the Italian Serie A. It quickly became clear that it shouldn’t exist. The Società Sportiva Calcio Napoli also presented themselves too well in their own stadium. Two goals from Victor Osihmen (45’+2′ and 53′) and a converted penalty by Piotr Zieliński (64′) showed the superiority of the club from the capital of Campania in the result as well.
The absences of Frankfurt striker Randal Kolo Muani, suspended after a red card in the first game, and attacking player Jesper Lindstrøm, who will be sidelined through injury, made themselves felt. Eintracht wanted to stay tight at the back and hoped for a flash of inspiration from Mario Götze or Daichi Kamada up front, which Rafael Borré, the only striker, should score. That didn’t work. Kamada had the first really good chance when it was already 0:2 (58th), although a goal in this situation might not have been recognized after a video check for offside.