Napoli beat Ajax 6-1 to stay perfect in Champions League

AMSTERDAM — Endemic Napoli condemned Ajax to their worst Champions League defeat on Tuesday, a 6-1 thrashing that maintained the Serie A leader’s perfect start in the group stage.

Napoli’s relentless forwards and midfielders never gave Ajax time to develop from behind and forced defenders to turn the ball over repeatedly, creating one chance after another for visitors.

The rout surpassed Ajax’s previous worst result in Europe, a 5-1 loss to Bayern Munich in 1980.

“It was a difficult, painful evening for us. Not worthy of Ajax,” said Ajax coach Alfred Schreuder.

Napoli, who have recorded their biggest away win in Europe, have now scored 13 goals in three Group A matches this Champions League campaign.

Luciano Spalletti’s side conceded an early goal but soon took full control of the Johan Cruyff Arena.

Napoli were without injured centre-forward Victor Osimhen but had Giacomo Raspadori, who showed his class by scoring twice in two Nations League wins last month for Italy against England and Hungary.

“We are really happy – we have to continue like this and improve day by day,” Raspadori told Sky Sport.

After Mohammed Kudus deflected Kenneth Taylor’s shot into the Napoli goal to give Ajax a ninth-minute lead, it was Raspadori who equalized nine minutes later, leaning in at the far post to head in a cross from the left of Mathias Olivera.

Defender Giovani Di Lorenzo gave Napoli the lead when he beat Jurrien Timber to a cross from the right from Khvicha Kvaratskhelia and headed into the corner in the 33rd minute.

Just before half-time, Piotr Zielinski collected the ball just inside his own half, sprinted through a gaping hole in the Ajax defense and passed Remko Pasveer who got his hands on the ball but couldn’t prevent the Polish midfielder from scoring his third goal in as many times. Champions League matches this season.

The pressure didn’t let up after the break and Raspadori scored his second goal in the 47th minute after Pasveer’s sloppy pass was intercepted by Calvin Bassey.

Raspadori broke through the static defense again in the 63rd with a quick exchange of passes to set Kvaratskhelia up for Napoli’s fifth goal. Substitute Giovanni Simeone made it 6-1 with a powerful close-range shot in the 81st minute as the dejected Ajax fans stormed out of the stadium. Those who remained booed the home team off the pitch.

“Today Napoli were better than us,” said Ajax captain Dusan Tadic, who was sent off in the 74th minute for his second yellow card.

Napoli lead the group with nine points, three ahead of second-placed Liverpool, who beat Rangers 2-0 on Tuesday. Ajax have three points.

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