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FC Viktoria Plzeň have one foot in the UEFA Europa League round of 32 after goals from Vladimír Darida, František Rajtoral and Stanislav Tecl took the sting out of SSC Napoli at the Stadio San Paolo.
Up against the tournament's seven-goal top scorer Edinson Cavani, Pavel Vrba's side showed admirable composure. Darida scored the only goal of the first half, and when Napoli turned up the heat after the interval, the Czech First League leaders refused to buckle – with Rajtoral and substitute Tecl beating Morgan De Sanctis in the closing minutes.
Plzeň might have expected a tougher examination in the first half, but while Matúš Kozáčik had to push Goran Pandev's effort onto the bar and later fend aside Juan Zúñiga's shot, the men in black kept their cool. They were rewarded on 28 minutes when Darida angled the loose ball into the net after Christian Maggio dispossessed the menacing Jan Kovařik.
Home coach Walter Mazzarri brought on Marek Hamšík at the break and immediately Napoli found the space that had hitherto eluded them. Kozáčik had to deny the Slovakian substitute with his feet after Hamšík was allowed to march into the box; he was called on again to divert Blerim Dzemaili's snap shot around his right-hand post. However, if Plzeň creaked, they did not crumble.
Rajtoral was mightily disappointed to see a goal ruled out for offside, while Hamšík had only himself to blame as he blasted wide at the other end with only Kozáčik to beat. That proved a costly miss when Jan Kovařík's looped cross from the left landed at the feet of Rajtoral, with the 26-year-old lifting the ball over De Sanctis to make it 2-0. Tecl then slipped in a third at the death to complete the heaviest European home defeat in Napoli's history.
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