Higuain brace helps Napoli to 3-2 Marseille win

Wed Nov 6, 2013 6:08pm EST
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By Terry Daley

(Reuters) - Two goals from Gonzalo Higuain helped Napoli to win a thrilling match with Marseille 3-2 in Group F of the Champions League on Wednesday.

The Argentine scored his second goal with 15 minutes remaining to settle a superb contest.

Florian Thauvin had leveled for the visitors on 64 minutes after two brilliantly-taken goals from Napoli's Gokhan Inler and Higuain in as many first-half minutes had cancelled out Andre Ayew's headed opener for the French side.

The win moved Rafael Benitez's side into second place in the group on nine points, level with leaders Arsenal who won 1-0 at Borussia Dortmund. Marseille's fourth straight defeat means they are strong favorites to finish bottom of the group.

"We knew this would be a difficult match before we played it. It's a very important win because it's an extremely difficult group," said the match-winner Higuain, who has now scored eight goals in all competitions since signing from Real Madrid in the close-season.

The win could prove crucial for Napoli as they now travel to Dortmund for their next match in three weeks with a three-point cushion over the Germans, having beaten them 2-1 in their opening match, and only need a draw to qualify for the knock-out stages.

"Winning this match and arriving on nine points in the Champions League is positive and as a coach I have to be satisfied," said Benitez.

"Could we have done better? Yes. But after we conceded the equalizer I really liked the reaction of the team."   Continued...

Napoli's Gonzalo Higuain celebrates after scoring against Olympique Marseille during their Champions League soccer match at San Paolo stadium in Naples November 6, 2013. REUTERS/Giampiero Sposito