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Raspadori breaks through as Napoli beats Union Berlin in Champions League

Giacomo Raspadori Napoli Giacomo Raspadori - The Canadian Press
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BERLIN (AP) — Giacomo Raspadori scored the only goal of the game as Napoli ground down defense-first Union Berlin to win 1-0 in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Napoli only needed one shot on target in the whole game as Khvicha Kvaratskhelia unlocked the deep, narrow defense of Union with a dribble down the left side to the touchline, where he cut the ball back for Raspadori to score in the 65th minute.

Napoli is second in Group C, three points behind Real Madrid, which won 2-1 at Braga in the other game. It was Napoli's second win in all competitions after back-to-back losses to Madrid and Fiorentina before the international break. Union is last in the group with no points.

Defeat further deepened the gloom around Union, which has lost nine games in a row in all competitions as its first-ever Champions League campaign has turned sour, with the team also close to the Bundesliga relegation zone. The team's most notable off-season signing, defender Leonardo Bonucci, was an unused substitute after a run of poor form.

After losing the opening two games of its first season in Europe’s top club competition to added-time goals, Union seemed content to sit deep against Napoli and occasionally threaten on the counter. That made for a dull first half notable mostly for Union fans' celebrations at the cavernous Olympiastadion — the club's temporary home for its three Champions League home games — when Janik Haberer put the ball into the net only for it to be disallowed for a clear offside in the buildup by David Datro Fofana.

After Raspadori made the breakthrough, Union had a chance to level when Robin Knoche got his head to Christopher's Trimmel free kick but nodded the ball wide of the post.

There was a sign of discontent in the Union team as coach Urs Fischer appeared to jostle Fofana, who ignored his handshake while being substituted in the 70th, shortly after the goal. Fofana is on loan from Chelsea.

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AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer