People were worried about how Napoli would respond to the weekend's loss and the tough environment of playing in Turkey. Turned out, the concern wasn't needed, as Napoli utterly dominated their Europa League round of 32 match against Trabzonspor, running away 4-0 winners and likely putting the tie to bed in the first leg.
It was an absolutely incredible start for Napoli, and they didn't let up one bit. It became quickly obvious that Napoli had a huge edge in speed and technical skill, and they exploited it ruthlessly. An early set piece lead to Trabzonspor goalkeeper Hakan Arikan making a point-blank save on a stabbed try from Kalidou Koulibaly, but his clearance went straight to Henrique, whose looped header nested itself under the bar to put Napoli ahead early.
The comfort of an early away goal let Napoli really cut loose, and it was one-way traffic the rest of the half. That lead to Manolo Gabbiadini making a blitzing run down the left flank, torching Jose Bosingwa and putting in a perfect low cross that gave Gonzalo Higuain a simple tap in, and Napoli were flying away in the tie with two early away goals.
Of course, they weren't done yet. They kept firing their way up the pitch, and it wasn't long before they found a third. This time it was Manolo Gabbiadini doing all the work himself, capitalizing on a ball over the top from Albiol, bringing it down with expert ease, then spinning and firing in the blink of an eye. It was an exceptional bit of skill from the Italian forward, and his signing looks better and better with every start he makes.
Napoli had a couple more chances to score in the first half, most notably Higuain cracking a ball off the upright, but Napoli couldn't find a fourth. As expected, Napoli sat back more in the second half, playing more on the counter rather than aggressively seeking goals. That gave Trabzonspor a handful of decent chances, but poor finishing and a couple nice saves from Mariano Andujar kept them from scoring. Instead, it was Duvan Zapata finding a fourth goal in the match, finishing off a mad scramble in the box in added time to put Napoli in a commanding position for the tie.
Coming out of the away leg of this Europa League tie with Trabzonspor with a 4-0 lead is amazing work for Napoli. It was the perfect way to recover from the humbling loss at the weekend. They'll head to the San Paolo next week with the tie all but finished, with only a miracle capable of saving Trabzonspor now. Hopefully this kicks off some fantastic momentum
Trabzonspor: Hakan Arikan; Bosingwa, Aykut Demir, Medjani, Ishak Dogan; Sefa Yilmaz, Ozer Hurmaci, Fatih Atik, Erkan Zengin, Soner Aydogdu; Oscar Cardozo
Napoli: Andujar; Henrique, Albiol, Koulibaly, Ghoulam; Inler, Gargano (Lopez 46'); Gabbiadini, De Guzman (Callejon 70'), Mertens; Higuain (Zapata 80')
Goals: Henrique 6', Higuain 20', Gabbiadini 27', Zapata 90'+2