Napoli have no choice but to beat Shakhtar Donetsk on Tuesday if they want any hope of advancing out of the Champions League group stage this season. That’s the entire story of this match right now. They’ve done so poorly in their results in the group that there’s no other scenario: it’s win, or else.
Even a win only gives Napoli a thin chance at advancing — they’d have to beat Shakhtar today and beat Feyenoord in the final group match, while hoping that Manchester City beat Shakhtar at their next meeting. Then it will come down to goal differential, but as long as Napoli win one of their games by multiple goals or Shakhtar lose one by multiple goals, it will break in Napoli’s favor.
But first, Napoli have to win. They got their momentum moving in the right direction with a tidy win over AC Milan this weekend, but Shakhtar are in better form and are more dangerous than Milan are right now. Napoli will have to be much better than their own recent form to guarantee their much-needed win, and they’ll need Christian Maggio, Vlad Chiriches, Piotr Zielinski, and Amadou Diawara to step up in a big way as they step into the starting lineup for this crucial match.
Napoli: Reina; Maggio, Albiol, Chiriches, Hysaj; Zielinski, Diawara, Hamsik; Callejon, Mertens, Insigne
Shakhtar: Pyatov; Butko, Ordets, Rakitskiy, Ismaily; Stepanenko, Fred; Marlos, Taison, Bernard; Ferreyra
Match info, plus how to watch on TV and stream
Match Date/Time: Tuesday, 2:45 p.m. ET, 8:45 p.m. local
Venue: Stadio San Paolo, Naples, Italy
TV: Fox Soccer Plus (U.S.), Canale 5, RSI La 2, PremiumSport HD (Italy), BT Sport Extra (U.K.), Kanal Ikrayina, Futbol 1 (Ukraine)
Online: Fox Soccer Match Pass, ESPN3, WatchESPN (U.S.), Premium Play (Italy)