A dominating display saw Napoli brush aside Slovan Bratislava with ease thanks to early goals from Dries Mertens and Marek Hamsik, and the partenopei came away 3-0 winners and finish atop Group I in the Europa League.
It didn't take long for Napoli to find a goal. The home side was practically camped out in Slovan's third of the pitch early on, and the Slovakians had a hard time dealing with the numbers and pace Napoli were throwing at them. Five minutes in, Marek Hamsik took a touch towards the box to draw defenders on to himself, then laid the ball off for Dries Mertens at the top of the box. A touch and a swing of his boot was all he needed, and Mertens sent a bullet in to the back of the net to put Napoli ahead.
Napoli kept on dominating, keeping Slovan on the back heel and looking like they couldn't be stopped. After a quarter of an hour, Dries Mertens lobbed a free kick in to the box that, at first, seemed to catch Marek Hamsik at the wrong part of his jump. Hamsik wasn't to be denied though, backheeling the ball in midair to put Napoli up 2-0. It was a sublime goal, and watching Hamsik celebrate it was fantastic considering his recent struggles.
After that, the match was basically already over. Napoli kept pushing for more goals, but some good goalkeeping from Dusan Pernis and some poor luck in the final third kept things at 2-0 at halftime. Slovan put together a couple half-chances (including Mariano Andujar whiffing on a punch), but on a whole Napoli stayed in near-complete control of the match.
Napoli weren't quite done showing off, though. Duvan Zapata, who started and was impressive on a whole, went on an incredible run down the left side and in to the box before pulling back for Jonathan De Guzman. De Guzman couldn't control the ball, but Faouzi Ghoulam was able to gather the ball and lob in a cross... a cross that Zapata got on the end of and headed home to put Napoli up 3-0, serving as the final nail in Slovan's coffin.
Seeing Napoli dominate like this, with little worry or stress, was excellent. Sure, Slovan Bratislava aren't a very good side, but Napoli putting their foot on the throat of a team they should beat easily hasn't exactly been common to see this season. Today, though, they put on a confident, assured display and never let Slovan in to the match in any meaningful way. This is how Napoli need to play more often. Hopefully this serves as the start of good things to come.
Napoli: Andujar; Maggio, Koulibaly, Britos, Ghoulam; Inler, Gargano; Mertens (De Guzman 62'), Hamsik, Callejon (Mesto 74'); Duvan (Higuain 78')
Goals: Mertens 5', Hamsik 15', Duvan Zapata 75'
Slovan Bratislava: Pernis; Cikos, Jablonsky, Gorosito, Kolcak; Hudak, Zofcak (Duris 62'), Milinkovic (Halenar 72'); Kubik (Gasparovic 87'), Stefanik; Peltier