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Bayern 3 Napoli 2

Gomez hat-trick settles action-packed thriller

Super Mario Gomez fired a first-half hat-trick as Bayern edged to victory in a turbulent midweek meeting with Napoli, both sides finishing with ten men and the resilient Italians coming perilously close to making off with a point on an incident-filled evening in Munich.

But FCB clung on to win, extending their phenomenal home record to nine straight wins and moving to within a point of a guaranteed berth in the Champions League Round of 16, although some of the gloss came off the victory at the sight of Bastian Schweinsteiger being stretchered off in the 52nd minute, clearly in acute pain from a nasty shoulder injury, later diagnosed as a broken collar bone.

The 66,000 full house at the Allianz Arena saw underdogs Napoli start brightly, but Gomez cracked three goals in 25 first-half minutes to put Jupp Heynckes’ men firmly in the driving seat. Stand-in centre-back Federico Fernandez kept the contest alive with a header on the stroke of half-time, but the game turned a touch scrappy after the injury to Schweinsteiger and a touch of niggle crept in, culminating in Juan Zuniga’s dismissal on 70 minutes for two fouls on Franck Ribery in quick succession.

The sides were numerically level again just six minutes later when Holger Badstuber also contrived to collect a second booking, and there was yet another twist when Champions League debutant Fernandez pulled another goal back with ten minutes still to play. Both sides had chances in the hectic closing stages, but FCB held on to claim three enormously important points.

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