Football

Zidane warns Real of complacency

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane warned that their Champions League last-16 clash against Napoli is not over, despite the defending champions holding a 3-1 lead from the first leg yesterday morning (Singapore time).

Real fell behind to an early goal at the Bernabeu, but then outclassed their opponents with efforts from Karim Benzema, Toni Kroos and a stunning volley from Brazilian midfielder Casemiro.

Yet Zidane believes Real, eyeing a seventh straight quarter-final appearance, can take nothing for granted when they travel to Naples for the second leg on March 7.

"We played a great game," said Zidane.

"I don't know if it was the best match we've played recently, but we made a great start.

"It was a shame about the Napoli goal, but we rectified things, scored ourselves and turned the game on its head. It was a just result.

"We'll go there to a difficult ground where we'll suffer and it's still an open game. We need to go there and finish it off with our 3-1 advantage."

Zidane hailed the impact of Benzema as he headed home his 51st Champions League goal to equalise before second-half strikes from Kroos and Casemiro sealed the win.

"I am always happy with him, said Zidane of Benzema.

"He needed that goal which lately he didn't get, but I am happy not only for the goal but also for how he played generally.

"He made the rest of the team play better and his movement was very good."

Real have now won 29 of their last 34 European home games and are unbeaten in their last 12 at the Bernabeu in the competition.

Napoli boss Maurizio Sarri, however, believes his side still have a chance of reaching the quarter-finals for the first time in their history.

"If we manage to play at our best, we are not that far away," said Sarri.

"We may lose (in the second leg), but we can go for it.

"It is the first game we have lost in four months.

"We didn't manage to express ourselves 100 per cent, but we can't lose our confidence because we have the return game and league games to come.

"We don't have a great chance of turning it around, but we have a chance." - WIRE SERVICES

Champions LeagueREAL MADRID