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Sports

Champions League: Holders Real Madrid edge out Napoli to reach quarterfinals

Real Madrid once again showed their experience to overcome a Napoli team who were perhaps better on the night, but not across the tie. Sergio Ramos proved the hero once again.

Napoli 1-3 Real Madrid (2-6 agg.)
(Mertens 24' - Ramos 52', 57', Morata 90+1')

Having impressed in the first leg, Napoli did more of the same in the second but their effort came in vain against the defending champions. A second-half brace from Madrid captain Sergio Ramos turned the tie in favor of the Spanish visiting team.

It started so well for Napoli when Marek Hamsik squared it to Dries Mertens after some brilliant build-up play, and the Belgian made no mistake to give the Italian hosts hope that the comeback was possible.

Cristiano Ronaldo nearly leveled the playing field moments later, but after rounding Pepe Reina the superstar was denied by the woodwork from the angle.

Napoli were on top though, and were it not for the woodwork at the other end, Mertens would have had a second with his first-time effort on the turn.

Real Madrid were behind at the interval of a Champions League game for the second time in 34 matches, but remained undeterred in their mission to defend their title.

Ramos headed in a Toni Kroos corner not long after the restart, and five minutes later the same recipe worked just as well - albeit with a deflection off Mertens' head. Napoli might have been the better team on the night, notably in the first half, but sloppy defending cost them. Alvaro Morata knocked in a rebound in added time to flatter the visitors.

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