Dries Mertens has turned his attention to becoming Napoli's all-time leading goalscorer after leapfrogging Diego Maradona into second place.

Mertens, 32, scored twice to help Napoli achieve a valuable 3-2 victory over Salzburg in a Champions League encounter in Austria.

The double took his tally to 116 goals for the Italian club in all competitions, one more than Argentine great Maradona.

Marek Hamsik, now at Dalian Yifang in China, remains out in front on 121 but his lead will not last if Belgium international Mertens gets his way.

"I'm delighted with these two goals because it earns me a place in Napoli's record books, something I've very proud of," the forward said after Wednesday's win.

"I've overtaken Diego, who's the all-time idol of this city, and now I hope to catch Marek, who is five goals away. I haven't said anything to Marek but I hope to overtake him soon, maybe by Christmas.

"This achievement is obviously a personal joy for me but also for the team, because I always put Napoli's result before me.

"It was important for us to start winning on the road again as it's a great morale boost."

Mertens in his seventh season with Napoli, having joined the Serie A side from PSV in 2013.

His double and Lorenzo Insigne's 73rd-minute winner helped the Naples side stay top of Group E after three games.

Carlo Ancelotti's men resume their European campaign at home to Salzburg on November 5.

Rudi Garcia insisted Lyon "do not blame" Anthony Lopes for their loss to Benfica after his Champions League howler.

A moment of madness from Lyon goalkeeper Lopes saw Garcia's side lose 2-1 to Benfica in Group G on Wednesday.

The goalkeeper's attempt to start a quick counter backfired when his throw went straight to Pizzi, who gleefully struck a first-time effort into an empty net.

Memphis Depay had cancelled out Rafa Silva's fourth-minute opener in Lisbon, where Lyon were left on four points – level with second-placed Zenit and two adrift of RB Leipzig.

"I have not seen him yet because he is at the anti-doping control, after which I will hasten to see him, to comfort him," head coach Garcia told reporters.

"Everyone can make a mistake. We are with him. It's sure that this goal comes at the wrong time, it's late, and it's complicated to come back and equalise. We were closer to winning the match than losing it. 

"After, we must be objective, we did not make a good first period. However, we have skilled players but we must do better, we must do more sequences in one touch and be faster with the ball. The team nevertheless showed personality. We could have won. We must rely on what is going well."

On Lopes, Garcia added: "It can happen, we do not blame him. He fell victim to wanting to play too fast. He wanted us to score a second goal and he was a little rushed. Nothing can be done against an individual error. I trust him to win us points as he does every season."

After two defeats to start their Champions League campaign, Benfica won for the first time this season.

Pizzi's winner saw Benfica move onto three points, only one point behind Zenit and Lyon heading into matchday four.

"We have mastered the start of the match," Benfica coach Bruno Lage said. "We produced a high-level first half. In the second, it is true that Lyon had more control, but they are not so dangerous as that. 

"I think that, overall, we had more opportunities than our opponent and our victory seems deserved. We are playing a difficult, demanding competition. If the fans are not satisfied with our performance, I do not know what to say."

Lionel Messi gets better with each passing day as head coach Ernesto Valverde heaped praise on Barcelona's record-breaking superstar following Wednesday's Champions League victory.

Messi set a new Champions League record with his goalscoring display in Barca's unconvincing 2-1 victory away to Slavia Prague in Group F midweek.

The Barca captain's third-minute goal saw him become the first player to score in the Champions League for 15 consecutive seasons, while he also matched Cristiano Ronaldo and Real Madrid great Raul in having netted against 33 different opponents in Europe's premier club competition.

Valverde hailed Messi post-match, telling reporters: "He's the player who can decide any game. Every day we see him he's even better.

"One more record for the incredible Leo. They are easy to say, it seems natural, but it is very difficult to achieve."

After Messi's opener, Slavia managed to restore parity via Jan Boril five minutes into the second half but a huge slice of luck benefited Barca, who saw Peter Olayinka deflected in Luis Suarez's effort.

The win saw Barca improve to seven points from three games, three points ahead of Inter and Borussia Dortmund.

On Messi, Barca midfielder Sergio Busquets added: "He's had a tough start to the season because of injuries. He's fundamental to the way we play and a lot goes through him.

"He's getting his rhythm back but it won't take him long because he's the best in the world." 

RB Leipzig head coach Julian Nagelsmann confirmed it was primarily a tactical decision to withdraw star forward Timo Werner a half-time during Wednesday's 2-1 comeback win over Zenit in the Champions League.

Yaroslav Rakitskiy's long-range effort gave visitors Zenit a 25th-minute lead at the Red Bull Arena that remained intact at the break midweek.

Nagelsmann opted to end a lacklustre showing from Germany international Werner, sending on Matheus Cunha in his place.

Cunha helped to spark a fine second-half showing, even if his finishing was no match for superb strikes from Konrad Laimer and Marcel Sabitzer – goals that moved the Bundesliga side to the top of Group G.

Former Everton winger Ademola Lookman also impressed after Nagelsmann opted to extend his maiden Champions League appearance at Werner's expense.

"I don't know if he still had a cold but I was just not so happy with how he was interpreting the position," the former Hoffenheim coach told a post-match news conference when discussing Werner's performance.

"We had a clear idea, as I said already, and I think that Ademola Lookman was a bit better in the game.

"It was obvious that the opponent will focus on defending after their lead, we needed more crosses then.

"It was the key for us during the half time to say we have to focus on the winger’s positions. So I needed a forward who is good with headers.

"As I was a bit happier with Mola, Timo had to stay inside."

Werner has been persistently linked with a move away from Leipzig, with Bayern Munich, Manchester United and Liverpool all reported to be among his potential suitors.

The 23-year-old has eight goals in 12 appearances this season and Nagelsmann insisted his midweek misery should not be given any wider significance.

"This is not a big drama, neither for Timo nor for the future," he added. "He played a lot of games and made a lot of goals. Today the others scored and we won."

Borussia Dortmund head coach Lucien Favre remains upbeat about his team's qualification chances, despite their loss to Inter in the Champions League.

Dortmund left Milan emptyhanded after going down 2-0 to hosts Inter in Group F action on Wednesday.

Favre's side succumbed to goals from Lautaro Martinez and Antonio Candreva at San Siro, where Inter leapfrogged Dortmund into second position on goal difference.

Inter and Dortmund are level on four points after three matchdays, three points adrift of leaders Barcelona.

Reflecting on the match, Favre – whose position has reportedly come into question amid Jose Mourinho being linked to his job – said: "We played well; in the first half we were very solid, too bad that we conceded that first goal.

"Except for that, it was okay. We didn't have lots of chances but played rather well. We waited patiently and avoided counterattacks. We had a clear chance which we should have done better with.

"We went in at the break a goal down, then had a couple of chances before they made it 2-0. We should have done better with those chances.

"It was our plan to play a compact game and press them in the right moment. We cannot expect to have 10 chances against this team. It is a difficult group, but everything is still possible."

Dortmund are fourth in the Bundesliga and only one point off the pace after their win over leaders Borussia Monchengladbach last week.

However, Favre – who saw Dortmund finish runners-up to Bayern Munich last season after surrendering a lead atop the table – has still been criticised in Germany.

"Some things were missing, we did not get bodies into the box," Dortmund general manager Sebastian Kehl said, in quotes published on UEFA.com. "Nevertheless, we didn't necessarily have to lose 2-0 today.

"The coach had an idea how to change things, it did work out quite well, we did not allow them a lot, but we were asleep for the opener. I don't think the tactical set-up was the problem."

Jurgen Klopp believes there is much more to come from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain after the midfielder's excellent brace inspired Liverpool's 4-1 Champions League win at Genk.

Oxlade-Chamberlain made his first appearance in Europe's top competition since rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament in the 2018 semi-final against Roma and marked the occasion in style.

A low drive gave him and Liverpool a second-minute opener at the Luminus Arena but it was his second before the hour that brought the house down.

After collecting Roberto Firmino's pass, Oxlade-Chamberlain unleashed a magnificent shot with the outside of his right foot from 20 yards that went in off the underside of Gaetan Coucke's crossbar.

Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah added goals that were similarly easy on the eye before substitute Stephen Odey netted a late consolation – adding up to a scoreline that felt a touch harsh on Genk after they cut through the Liverpool defence frequently.

"An absolutely great moment for him but Ox’s performance was, I would say, exactly like the performance of the team: the goals were great but all the rest could have been better," Klopp told a post-match news conference.

"That’s how it is, it’s no problem. The goals were sensational and very important for us.

"Obviously it was wonderful last Sunday that Adam [Lallana] scored the goal and now Ox has scored two goals which is really nice. It’s absolutely great, a great story."

Klopp felt Liverpool left themselves exposed to a pacey Genk attack by carelessly ceding possession during the first half.

"The plan worked for 10 or 15 minutes okay and then not anymore because we lost completed unexpected balls, which we were not ready for," he said.

"We lost too many of them and sometimes we took a risk in the wrong moment. A pass or a one-two in a very tight space, it makes not too much sense.

"Then we scored the second goal, the first goal was brilliant but the second was even nicer – all our goals were unbelievably beautiful – and the second looked like it was a proper knock for Genk."

Klopp confirmed Andy Robertson's second-half substitution was not caused by an injury after the Scotland international endured some torrid moments against Genk winger Junya Ito.

Ernesto Valverde has praised the display of Slavia Prague after his Barcelona side came away with a fortuitous 2-1 win in the Champions League.

Barca were well below par in Wednesday's Group F encounter, but clinched the points thanks to Peter Olayinka's own goal.

Lionel Messi had put Barca ahead early on, but Slavia deservedly fought back through Jan Boril's equaliser before Olayinka deflected in Luis Suarez's effort.

The visitors had to survive a late onslaught in order to move three points clear at the top of Group F and Valverde acknowledged his side must learn to manage games in a more orderly fashion.

"That was exactly the Slavia performance we expected," Valverde told a news conference.

"These games, we have to know how to play them. We have lacked peace of mind. We had clearer chances than they did, but their pushing could hurt us. They were like wolves.

"When we lost the ball they threw people forward and by the end they took so many risks it was like defending against an avalanche of attacks."

Barca goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen made a string of stops to keep Slavia down to one goal, but the Germany international insisted Barca must improve tactically.

"We didn't play at the level we need to be at," Ter Stegen told reporters. "Luckily we got all three points, which is the most important thing.

"There are things we must improve but we'll talk about them within the training ground, not here.

"This is a tactical thing. These are things that happen during a game.

"On a personal level I always want to be there and if I can help the team, that's better."

Napoli head coach Carlo Ancelotti hailed Dries Mertens' record-breaking performance as "great" after the Serie A outfit edged Salzburg 3-2 in an entertaining Champions League clash in Austria.

Mertens put Napoli in front on two occasions before Lorenzo Insigne came off the bench to get the winner for Ancelotti's men in Group E action on Wednesday.

Belgium international Mertens has now scored 116 goals for Napoli, second only to former captain Marek Hamsik (121).

Mertens' brace saw him move past Napoli legend Diego Maradona on the club's list of all-time scorers and kept the Italian side on top of Group E, one point ahead of Champions League holders Liverpool.

"It's a great night for him, for us," Ancelotti told Sky Sports Italia. "We fought hard. It was a fascinating match and we stayed focused for 90 minutes. It's a great result.

"We started strong, took the lead, struggled a little and then got it back under control. Those who came off the bench gave an excellent contribution and it's a wonderful night for everyone."

Ancelotti also praised super-sub Insigne for his late, vital contribution.

"I had told before the game, 'You will play and decide the match, but I don't know if you'll play 10, 20 or 30 minutes'. I'm not a magician – but I told him that!"

The 32-year-old Mertens arrived at Napoli in 2013 from PSV.

His best season in front of goal for Napoli was the 2016-17 campaign, when he netted 28 times in the Serie A and added six more in cup competitions.

Mertens has already scored three goals in this season's Champions League after also netting in Napoli's 2-0 win over Liverpool last month.

Napoli host Salzburg in their next Champions League fixture on November 5.

Antonio Conte claimed Borussia Dortmund feared Inter following the Nerazzurri's 2-0 Champions League victory on Wednesday.

Lautaro Martinez and Antonio Candreva both scored for Inter at San Siro, where the Italian side registered their first Champions League win under Conte.

Martinez – who also had a second-half penalty saved – made it five goals in four games for Inter as he opened the scoring in the 22nd minute before Candreva sealed the Group F points with a minute of regulation remaining.

It was Inter's first victory over German opposition since March 2011 and head coach Conte told Sky Sport Italia: "Borussia Dortmund changed their system to five at the back, which means they were afraid of us and wanted to play by changing their approach to mirror ours.

"We had prepared for a very different match, but did well to adjust. When Dortmund switched back to 4-2-3-1 after the break, we adjusted again and took control.

"We had prepared to press them in certain areas of the pitch and they changed their system, so that was no longer valid. The most important thing I told the lads was not to lose possession in central areas, as that is where they push forward on the counter.

"Roberto Gagliardini, Nicolo Barella and Marcelo Brozovic did a great job both in defending and attacking. I often tell Brozo off for attacking too much, but he had a great game tonight with both phases. Barella is so generous and passionate, but he does give me anxiety attacks when he gets booked after 10-15 minutes."

Inter now have four points from three games in Group F and moved up to second – ahead of Dortmund on goal difference – and three points adrift of leaders Barcelona.

"It's tough against Borussia Dortmund, who are a very good team. It's still difficult to qualify, but we know that we're alive and kicking," Conte added.

"It is not a simple situation. The lads did well and dealing with a series of injuries, we still put in a great performance. I am happy above all for the players, as these nights reward them for their sacrifices.

"I told the team that they worked so hard with Luciano Spalletti to qualify for the Champions League, so it was important we give our all to keep that dream going.

"We're not the favourites in this group, but we had to win to stay in the running and we did it. Now we've got Parma coming up, not even three days away, so we need to be very wary, as Saturday is the toughest game and not tonight."

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain took inspiration from Liverpool's Champions League triumph last season as he took the early steps in his own return to elite football.

Oxlade-Chamberlain was the Reds' star performer with a superb brace in their 4-1 win at Genk on Wednesday, keeping Jurgen Klopp's side a point behind Group E leaders Napoli on their European title defence.

The England midfielder's last appearance in Europe's top competition ended in heartache as he suffered a serious knee injury against Roma in the 2018 semi-final.

He returned to fitness to be an unused substitute when Liverpool beat Tottenham in last season's final and the 26-year-old revelled in being back on centre stage in Belgium.

"It's nice to be back out there. It's a special tournament to play in. A competition that we all want to grow up and play in one day," Oxlade-Chamberlain told BT Sport.

"Seeing the boys do so well in it last year, then I was fortunate to get back involved on the bench on the big day in the final. Watching the boys bring it home was inspirational and [made it] something that I've wanted to get back to do.

"It's just nice to be back in the starting line-up, trying to put in a performance to help the team. To get a few goals is a bonus."

Oxlade-Chamberlain opened the scoring in the second minute with a deflected low drive.

It was his second that will live longest in the memory, however – a sublime strike with the outside of his right foot from 20 yards that cannoned into the net via the underside of the crossbar.

"Everyone will be delighted for him," said James Milner, who battled against Genk side at right-back before moving to left-back in the second half, told BT Sport.

"The things people don't see behind the scenes at a training ground, the long hours and time spent in the treatment room and gym on their own.

"I think that goal was coming, to be honest. He had a couple of sighters at Old Trafford [during Liverpool's 1-1 Premier League draw on Sunday], just getting his range right.

"We want him to be positive when he's in there, he's got a great strike on him, he's good in those pockets with dribbling ability.

"It's good to have him back as another option in that midfield where there's great competition for places."

Genk captain Mbwana Samatta had a first-half goal disallowed for marginal offside in the build-up and the hosts had plenty of chances to score before substitute Stephen Odey's 88th-minute consolation – a tidy turn and shot after Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah coolly made the points safe.

"In the first half we got a bit sloppy and we've got to do a lot better if we want to go further in this competition," Oxlade-Chamberlain added.

"Second half it was quite mature. We controlled the game. Disappointing to concede but it was a good night all round."

Albert Celades described Valencia's performance at Lille as their weakest in this season's Champions League after a dramatic late equaliser earned the hosts a 1-1 draw.

After Denis Cheryshev's goal put Valencia on course for three points at Stade Pierre-Mauroy, Mouctar Diakhaby was sent off for a second bookable offence, leaving the visitors with 10 men in the closing stages of Wednesday's game.

Diakhaby's dismissal gave Lille the boost they needed to find a way back into the match and Jonathan Ikone came off the bench to score a stunning goal in stoppage time.

Valencia head coach Celades slammed his side's display after they missed the opportunity to draw level with Chelsea and Ajax at the top of Group H, telling reporters: "I think that was our weakest performance so far.

"You got the feeling that the team wasn't at ease and that we weren't better in any area than Lille. Lille had a lot of chances. They were dangerous in a lot of situations.

"It's difficult to get out of a group like this, but we knew that each game would count.

"They caused us problems, particularly in the first half. We didn't play enough in their half of the pitch. We passed the ball around a lot, but in our own half. We wanted to play further forward, but it wasn't possible.

"We know we didn't play well, but Lille are a very good team. They have all my respect, but we know we can play better."

Lille counterpart Christophe Galtier admitted his side's hopes of progressing beyond the group stage remain slim after they picked up their first point of the campaign.

Galtier picked out the return fixture against Valencia on November 5 as a must-win for Lille, saying: "When you're in a competition, you want to go as far as you can, even though it's a very tough competition, and my players did everything they could to win. I am frustrated for them.

"I do not know if this match can revive us but it shows that we are progressing. We started from nothing in terms of experience and with experience comes progress.

"There are three games left and it will be necessary to win in Valencia."

Julian Nagelsmann felt RB Leipzig's calmness under pressure was crucial to their 2-1 comeback win over Zenit in the Champions League.

Leipzig fell behind to their Russian visitors in the 25th minute when Yaroslav Rakitskiy scored a thumping long-range drive.

Star forward Timo Werner made way at half-time but Nagelsmann's side were a team transformed after the restart, with wonderful goals from Konrad Laimer and Marcel Sabitzer their reward.

"Given our form and the fact we fell behind, I think it's incredible how calm we stayed," said Nagelsmann – as quoted by UEFA.com – following a winless run of four matches heading into Wednesday's match.

"There were a few times we took too many risks and were fortunate that Zenit's final pass lacked precision. This was a crucial win at a crucial time and fully deserved."

Sabitzer's winner was a strike to remember as he controlled Lukas Klostermann's cross on his chest before sending a sweetly struck volley into the top-left corner with the outside of his right foot.

"It was a deserved victory, especially after the second half," Sabitzer said. "We had the opponent clearly under control and then we got our success.

"We were under pressure after losing to Lyon. We have withstood this and have our fate in our own hands. It's been a great football evening."

Leipzig lead Group G on six points, two better off than Zenit ahead of the return fixture in St Petersburg two weeks from now.

"Leipzig are a good, fast team, with quality both in pressing and in attack. But they are still playable – we'll try again in two weeks," said Zenit head coach Sergei Semak.

"We looked disciplined in the first half but then we conceded twice and something broke down in our game.

"The result is fair – Leipzig had their chances and made the most of them."

Raheem Sterling's mentality is behind his prolific run of form for club and country, according to John Stones.

Manchester City winger Sterling netted a quickfire 11-minuite hat-trick after half-time on Tuesday as Pep Guardiola's side demolished Atalanta 5-1 in the Champions League.

Sterling also supplied the cross for Sergio Aguero's 34th-minute equaliser and won the penalty from which the Argentina striker put City in front.

Of his five career hat-tricks, Sterling has now claimed four match balls in 2019, including a brilliant treble in England's 5-0 Euro 2020 qualification win over the Czech Republic at Wembley in March.

"He's been on fire. He's got that mentality, he wants more," Stones said, before noting the one-on-one opportunity Sterling missed after completing his Atalanta hat-trick would probably disappoint the 24-year-old Ballon d'Or nominee. 

"He showed it [against Atalanta]. He kept trying, he might be disappointed because he could have scored four, but I think he should be very proud for scoring a hat-trick in the Champions League.

"I'm very happy for him and he helped us to take a step closer to the next round."

Sterling has 16 goals in 17 appearances for City and England this term – a flying start to the campaign that contrasts sharply with a 2019-20 yet to get off the ground for Stones.

The former Everton centre-back has been laid low for a month at a time following a pair of thigh injuries and only featured as a substitute against Atalanta and Crystal Palace last weekend despite midfielders Fernandinho and Rodri forming a makeshift centre-back pairing.

"Obviously, it's always frustrating going through injuries," he said.

"To me, it was a bit of a setback. Now I'm back, I feel strong and healthy again. Hopefully I can stay fit and help to fight for every competition."

Stones was introduced on Tuesday after Rodri pulled up with a hamstring injury, while his fellow centre-back Aymeric Laporte is recuperating from knee surgery alongside winger Leroy Sane.

City are waiting to find out the severity of another knee problem sustained by left-back Oleksandr Zinchenko, although Stones was at least able to line up alongside Nicolas Otamendi during the closing stages in midweek – the Argentina defender having shaken off a minor back complaint.

"It's been frustrating for all of us, for the manager, for the team, all the injuries we have got," said the 25-year-old.

"It's been a difficult time for us, but the guys have made a step up. They have done jobs for the team that they are not used to, so I give all the credit to them.

"Now, we [Stones and Otamendi] are back, we need to try to stay fit and healthy to help the team to fight for all the competitions."

Benfica claimed their first Champions League win of the season as Anthony Lopes' howler helped them overcome Lyon 2-1 on Wednesday.

Defeats to RB Leipzig and Zenit in their opening two games had left Bruno Lage's side languishing at the foot of Group G, but they kick-started their campaign thanks to Lopes' moment of madness five minutes from time.

The goalkeeper's attempt to start a quick counter backfired when his throw went straight to Pizzi, who gleefully struck a first-time effort into an empty net.

Memphis Depay had earlier cancelled out Rafa Silva's fourth-minute opener for Benfica, who will travel to France for the return fixture in a fortnight with renewed confidence that they can progress to the knockout stages.

 

Jonathan Ikone scored a dramatic late equaliser to earn Lille a 1-1 draw against 10-man Valencia and the first point of their Champions League campaign.

After Group H rivals Chelsea beat Ajax in Amsterdam, Valencia were on course to join those two sides on six points after three games when Denis Cheryshev gave the visitors a lead they barely deserved in the 63rd minute.

But the game unravelled for Albert Celades' men in the closing stages, with Mouctar Diakhaby's sending-off six minutes from time giving Lille a lengthy period of stoppage time to find an equaliser against depleted opposition.

That goal arrived courtesy of a moment of brilliance from second-half substitute Ikone, whose shot on the turn keeps hope alive for Christophe Galtier's men with three group games left to play.

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