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Champions League

Rare Kroos goal helps Madrid to comeback win over Napoli

A rare Toni Kroos goal helped Real Madrid take a big step towards their seventh straight Champions League quarterfinal. Karim Benzema and Casemiro were also on the scoresheet in a 3-1 win over Napoli.

Real Madrid 3-1 Napoli
(Benzema 18', Kroos 49', Casemiro 54' - Insigne 8')

Defending champions Real Madrid recovered from an early setback to secure a big advantage over Napoli in the first leg of their Round of 16 tie on Wednesday.

Madrid fell behind early on when Lorenzo Insigne caught Keylor Navas out of position and struck past the Real keeper from 40 yards, much to the delight of the hordes of traveling Italian fans.

But their joy was short lived. Just five minutes later, Karim Benzema met Dani Carvajal's right-wing cross with a close-range header to level things up.

That was the way it stayed until the break when Kroos stepped up to notch only his second goal in 30 games for the club this term. The German midfielder was beautifully picked out by Cristiano Ronaldo, whose cutback from the byline enabled Kroos to sidefoot home from the edge of the box.

If Napoli still felt the tie was within their reach at 2-1, they had to re-assess just five minutes later after a stunning strike from another unlikely source. There didn't look too much danger when a loose ball fell to defensive midfielder Casemiro but the Brazilian took the ball first time on the volley to send it arcing over Pepe Reina.

Madrid could perhaps have had more but will travel to Naples on March 7 knowing they already have one foot in the last eight for the seventh year running. 

mp/jh (AFP/DPA)