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Marek Hamsik scores off corner to give Napoli 1-0 Champions League lead

Benfica were the better team early, but Napoli have the lead.

Marek Hamsik: Captain, leader, legend. That phrase got extra meaning on Tuesday when Hamsik slipped his defender on a corner kick and headed in from the near post to give Napoli a crucial 1-0 lead over Benfica in Champions League action.

It’s nothing fancy or jaw-dropping, but it’s an impressive goal all the same. In the blink of an eye, Hamsik goes from well-covered to in perfect position at the near post, and he made no mistakes with his header, just skimming it past the post and into the back of the net. Goals don’t have to be pretty to count, but this one is still lovely in its own way for how well it came off.

It was a perfectly executed corner sequence, and one Napoli have been going for a lot their last few weeks. We’ve seen Napoli go for this near-post swinging corner three or four times a game of late, and it’s never really worked until now — perhaps because Hamsik had usually been stationed at the far post or at the top of the box. This time, he was at the near post, and his slippery hips got him through traffic and into perfect position. This is a routine we’ll likely be seeing a lot more of soon.

But for now, just bask in the glow of Hamsik’s goal.