Napoli missed a huge chance to earn a second successive win in Group E on Wednesday night, as they drew 0-0 with Genk at the Luminus Arena.
Napoli looked certain to take the lead, but squandered three big back-to-back chances. Arkadiusz Milik's initial effort was saved by Gaetan Coucke, the rebound was blocked by the Genk defence and Milik's third attempt came off the bar as Genk did well to keep the visitors out.
The Partenopei continued to come close, but also continued to waste some big chances. Milik hit the bar again with his close-range header, and Kalidou Koulibaly's shot was cleared off the line as Napoli somehow went into half time goalless.
While it was all Napoli throughout the game, Genk didn't go without their chances. Sander Berge and Ianis Hagi both had some decent attempts on goal for the hosts, who could've certainly snatched all three points in an overall disciplined performance on home soil.
Starting XI: Coucke (7*); Maehle (6), Cuesta (6), Lucumi (6), Uronen (6); Berge (6), Hagi (7), Hrosovsky (6); Bongonda (6), Samatta (7), Ito (6).
Substitutes: Paintsil (N/A), Heynen (N/A).
Key Talking Point
Napoli started the game strongly, moving the ball well and creating some good chances. At first it looked like the Partenopei were unlucky not to break the deadlock, but as the first half progressed chance after chance passed by as Napoli simply became so, so wasteful.
Nothing seemed to change after the break, as Napoli kept missing huge opportunities. Striker Milik - who hasn't scored for five months - kept squandering brilliant chances in a poor performance, as Napoli showed so quality in finishing their chances and securing the win.
The only positive from the game is their solid defensive performance, but there are problems going forward for Carlo Ancelotti's side. They didn't take their chances in Belgium and threw away what should've been a routine win, in what was a lacklustre display from the Italians.
Starting XI: Meret (7); Di Lorenzo (6), Manolas (6), Koulibaly (7*), Rui (N/A); Allan (7), Ruiz (6), Elmas (6); Callejon (6), Milik (4), Lozano (6).
Substitutes: Malcuit (6), Mertens (6), Llorente (6).
Koulibaly is so so good 💎— dompendleton (@dpendleton24) October 2, 2019
Koulibaly my man— StevenYeun (@Tan_meleon) October 2, 2019
Poor performance from Napoli so far but Koulibaly has been superb as usual on his return to Genk.— Zach Lowy (@ZachLowy) October 2, 2019
STAR MAN - With nobody to praise in attack, it was Kalidou Koulibaly who stood out for Napoli. In a typically dominant performance at the back, Koulibaly kept out his former side in a disciplined and solid display, winning every tackle and holding the Napoli backline together.
Genk are back at the Luminus Arena in just four days, as they welcome Royal Excel Mouscron on Sunday. The Belgians then face a tough trip away from home after the international break, travelling to high-flying Standard Liege on 19 October.
Napoli travel to Turin next, as they face Torino this Sunday. The Partenopei are then back at the San Paolo two weeks later, hosting Verona on 19 October as they hope to continue their push to the top of Serie A.