Serie A: First-place Napoli turns to domestic matters after bewitching Europe

Napoli's stunning start to the season has left fans wondering just how far its flamboyant team can go as it prepares for Sunday's visit of Bologna after another memorable European night.

A capacity crowd of over 52,000 was at the Stadio Maradona on Wednesday to see Serie A's leading team beat Ajax 4-2 and seal a spot in the last 16 of the Champions League with two games to spare.

Luciano Spalletti's team crashed in 10 goals in two Group A games with four-time European champion Ajax and look like it has just about everything in place to make a deep run at home and abroad.

Napoli has scored an astonishing 39 times in 13 matches at home and abroad with 17 of those coming in the four fixtures in a Champions League group which looked tricky when drawn in August.

Instead it has found European soccer even more forgiving than domestic competition, where it has a two-point lead over Atalanta, despite Spalletti's claim that Wednesday's exciting win "showed you what Champions League football is all about".

"You get swept along by the atmosphere on nights like this. At one point, I felt dizzy and thought I could see stars around my head," Spalletti told Sky Sport Italia.

Napoli's unbeaten start to season and the run of nine straight wins took almost everybody by surprise as it appeared to be a club in deep turmoil over the summer.

Fans were livid after seeing some of their most important players -- including Kalidou Koulibaly and captain Lorenzo Insigne -- leave and around 5,000 season tickets were sold leading up to current campaign.

Owner Aurelio De Laurentiis was implored to sell the club, while Spalletti was order to "wake up" by an angry supporter during a summer training camp event organized to present the team.

However almost every new signing has slotted in perfectly, with Giacomo Raspadori, Kim Min-Jae and in particular wing wizard Khvicha Kvaratskhelia quickly becoming key players in possibly Europe's most exciting team.

Another positive note heading into Sunday's match was the return from injury of Victor Osimhen, who had been out since the first half of the hammering of Liverpool that kicked off the European campaign in such great style. Osimhen constantly got in behind the Ajax defenders before finally netting in stoppage time.

That desire to show his worth can only have come from the fact that Napoli has barely skipped a beat since the Nigeria forward succumbed to a thigh injury.

Raspadori has hit the ground running, scoring five times for his new club, while Giovanni Simeone seems content to fill the super-sub role with four strikes of his own since arriving from Verona.

The only real problem facing Spalletti is the condition of Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa and Amir Rrahmani.

Anguissa had to leave the field with a thigh problem on Wednesday and tests on Friday should reveal how long the Cameroon midfielder will be sidelined.

Rrahmani is the bigger issue as the Kosovo captain is going to be out for around three weeks and Juan Jesus proved a shaky replacement against Ajax.

Spalletti will also have to deal with the expectations of a success-starved fan base and questions over his ability to stop Napoli tailing off at the end of the season, a problem which has afflicted his managerial career.

"They can demand all they want," said Spalletti to Amazon Prime. "I put enough pressure on myself, I put more on myself than you can put on me."

Saturday: Empoli vs. Monza, Torino vs. Juventus, Atalanta vs. Sassuolo
Sunday: Inter vs. Salernitana, Lazio vs. Udinese, Spezia vs. Cremonese, Napoli vs. Bologna, Verona vs. AC Milan.
Monday: Sampdoria vs. Roma, Lecce vs. Fiorentina.
Viewing: Soccer on TV

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