Napoli have been dominant in the second half, absolutely blistering Benfica’s defense and creating all kinds of danger. That lead to an absolutely blistering spell of play that saw Napoli score three times in the space of seven minutes to run out to a huge lead, including a brace of goals from Dries Mertens.
Their first fantastic chance of the half came when Mertens burst into the box and was clipped down by Lisandro Lopez, with the penalty appeal denied, but a free kick given at the edge of the box. Not to be discouraged, Mertens stepped up over the ball and did this.
GOOOOLLL MERTENS!!!!! 2-0 NAPOLI WHAT A BEAST WHAT A FREE KICK!!! pic.twitter.com/h8SnoMnzPA— ItalianFootballTV (@IFTV_Official) September 28, 2016
That is such a tremendous shot. Skimming the wall, curling back to the near post, perfectly weighted to drop under the bar — everything Mertens needed to do to score there, he did perfectly. Julio Cesar was beaten so thoroughly, his body basically betrayed him, almost spasming in defeat as he realized he had no chance to get to the shot. Beautiful.
Of course, Napoli weren’t done there. Another burst into the box, this time from Jose Callejon, saw Cesar come bundling out of the goal and straight through the Napoli winger to give the partenopei a penalty, one that Arkadiusz Milik converted with ease.
Minutes later, who else would it be but Mertens again, who after a chaotic sequence in the box saw the ball fall at his feet, and made no mistake in cleaning up the chance:
ANOTHER GOAL FROM NAPOLI HAHAHA IT COMES SCRAPPY BUT WE DONT CARE! MERTENS MAKES IT 4-0 FOR NAPOLI OVER BENFICA DAIII!!!!!! pic.twitter.com/Z2ED6ed07f— ItalianFootballTV (@IFTV_Official) September 28, 2016
Not fancy, not pretty, not anything that will last on highlight reels, but it counts just the same and gave Napoli a massively important four-goal lead to protect.
That early spell of dominance would sputter out a bit eventually, but it did what it needed to do: put Napoli in the driver’s seat, and Benfica firmly on the back foot. It was planned and executed to perfection, and to see Napoli humble a quality opponent to thoroughly like this is a very promising sign of things to come this season.