Goran Pandev; photo: Yahoo!

Goran Pandev made late appearance for Napoli

Goran Pandev; photo: Yahoo!Attacker Goran Pandev entered the game in the 83rd minute for Napoli who celebrated a narrow 2:1 home victory over Manchester City to move into second place of Group A in the Champions League.

Goran Pandev began the game on the bench for Napoli before he entered the game in the 83rd minute replacing Edinson Cavani who scored both goals for Napoli.  Pandev played for ten minutes, including the three minutes of stoppage time, but spent most of his time tracking back on defense as Napoli came under heavy pressure from Manchester City during that stretch.  Manchester City brought on strikers for a defensive midfielder and right back in a desperate attempt to score the equalizer but it would not come as Napoli held on to the 2:1 victory.

Napoli opened the scoring in the 17th minute when Edinson Cavani scored with a header from a tight angle following a corner kick from the left by Ezequiel Lavezzi.  Napoli opened the game brightly but Manchester City then scored a fortunate goal to tie the game at 1:1 in the 33rd minute.  Napoli defender Salvatore Aronica made a bad clearance which reached David Silva whose shot was saved but Mario Balotelli scored an easy goal on the rebound.  Early in the second half, in the 49th minute, Napoli once again took the lead with Cavani connecting on a low cross from Andrea Dossena to send a shot past Manchester City keeper Joe Hart.  Napoli came close to putting the game away in the 76th minute but Slovak international Marek Hamšík struck the post after bad defending by Aleksandar Kolarov.  That miss led to a nervy finish for Napoli but they were able to hold on to the narrow victory.

With the win, Napoli overtook Manchester City on the table and moved into second place of Group A with eight points after five matchdays.  Manchester City dropped to third place with seven points so the sixth and final matchday will decide which team will join Bayern München to the Round of 16 in the Champions League.  The German giants have already secured a first place finish while Villarreal will be bottom of the group so only second and third place have yet to be determined.  Napoli controls its destiny and will advance to the Champions League Round of 16 with a win over Villarreal on 7 December in Spain.  A Napoli loss or a draw will allow Manchester City to potentially finish second if the current leaders in England can close the group with a home win against Bayern München.

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