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Mertens, Llorente fire Napoli past Liverpool

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Napoli’s Belgian forward Dries Mertens celebrates after scoring a penalty during the UEFA Champions League Group E football match Napoli vs Liverpool on September 17, 2019 at the San Paolo stadium in Naples. Andreas SOLARO / AFP

• Valencia stun Chelsea at Stamford Bridge
A Dries Mertens penalty and a Fernando Llorente header handed Napoli a surprise 2-0 victory against Champions League holders Liverpool in their opening Group E clash yesterday.

Adrian got a hand to the Belgian international’s spot-kick, but he could not do enough to prevent Mertens low drive from hitting the net.

Former Tottenham striker, Llorente secured the victory when Virgil Van Dijk’s giveaway was converted by the Spaniard from close range.

Carlo Ancelotti’s side get off to a perfect start on a night when Adrian also had to pull off a stunning reflex save to deny a Mertens header in the 49th minute.

In London, Valencia stunned Chelsea at Stamford Bridge after penalty drama involving VAR and Ross Barkley.

The away side arrived in London in turmoil after the sacking of Marcelinho but they were well organised under new manager, Albert Celades and frustrated the home team.

They looked dangerous on the break and eventually took the lead when a clever free-kick routine caught Chelsea out and Rodrigo turned home on the volley.

Chelsea had the chance to level when VAR decided that Daniel Wass had handled the ball in the box from a Fikayo Tomori header.
Substitute Ross Barkley immediately ran towards the spot to pick up the ball, shrugging aside regular penalty taker Jorginho, as well as Willian and Tammy Abraham.

It proved to be an unwise decision when Barkley’s spot-kick cannoned back off the bar.


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