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Napoli victory in vain as Arsenal finish second

Published: Wednesday 11 December 2013, 23.00CET
SSC Napoli 2-0 Arsenal FC
The home victory meant three teams finished on 12 points in Group F but Napoli were denied on head-to-head, with Arsenal coming second.
by Ben Gladwell
from Stadio San Paolo

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Match statistics

NapoliArsenal

Goals scored2
 
0
Possession (%)49
 
51
Total attempts13
 
3
on target7
 
2
off target6
 
1
blocked0
 
0
against woodwork0
 
0
Corners1
 
0
Offsides5
 
3
Yellow cards3
 
4
Red Cards0
1
Fouls committed16
 
16
Fouls suffered16
 
16
Passes609
 
636
completed417
 
463

Standings

 
Published: Wednesday 11 December 2013, 23.00CET

Napoli victory in vain as Arsenal finish second

SSC Napoli 2-0 Arsenal FC
The home victory meant three teams finished on 12 points in Group F but Napoli were denied on head-to-head, with Arsenal coming second.

SSC Napoli became the first team to be eliminated from the group phase of the UEFA Champions League on 12 points after a 2-0 home victory over Arsenal FC proved in vain.

With Rafael Benítez's men unable to impose themselves on a well-disciplined Arsenal, it took the 57th-minute introduction of Lorenzo Insigne to change the complex of the game and not long afterwards Gonzalo Higuaín struck his fourth goal of this Group F campaign. Mikel Arteta was sent off for the Gunners, but José Callejón's late second was only cosmetic as Borussia Dortmund's win at Olympique de Marseille took the Bundesliga side through with Arsenal.

There was a distinct sense of urgency in Napoli's play, yet whenever Arsenal got their foot on the ball they looked commanding, even if at least one Napoli player was soon biting at their heels – a little overzealously at times. If anything, being harried into passing quickly suited Arsenal's slick play down to the ground and they carved out the first big chance midway through the first half. Mesut Özil sent Olivier Giroud clear, but Rafael Cabral, making his UEFA Champions League debut, pushed his angled shot out. The ball came to Özil who was unable to get it under control and the opportunity went begging.

The hosts tried to make the most of full-backs Pablo Armero and Christian Maggio getting forward, and the latter went close to breaking the deadlock when he reached the ball ahead of Wojciech Szczęsny, only to lob both the last line of the Arsenal defence and the crossbar. Napoli's inability to involve Higuaín was symptomatic of their rather blunt-edged attack, when what they needed was the Argentinian's incision.

Benítez therefore turned to Insigne, and he instantly teed Armero up for the Neapolitans' best opening yet. Insigne's introduction also gave the fans belief, and the Azzurri responded. Higuaín scooped an effort over from an angle before getting it right from Callejón's pass to give Napoli the lead with a fine swivel and shot into the bottom corner. Their hopes received a further boost when Arteta collected a second yellow card, but joy turned to sorrow as news filtered through that Dortmund had gone in front at Marseille.

Napoli needed two more goals to progress, yet they could only find one – Callejón delightfully lobbing Szczęsny with almost the last kick. It may have sealed the victory, which preserved Napoli's unbeaten home record in the UEFA Champions League, but the Serie A club nevertheless bowed out of the competition on 12 points. Arsène Wenger's troops, meanwhile, qualified in second spot as a result of the three-way head-to-head at the top of Group F.

Last updated: 06/10/14 11.29CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/season=2014/matches/round=2000479/match=2011842/postmatch/report/index.html#napoli+victory+vain

Lineups

napoli

Napoli

arsenal

Arsenal

1
Rafael CabralRafael Cabral (GK)
1
SzczęsnyWojciech Szczęsny (GK)
7
CallejónJosé Callejón
Goal90+3
4
MertesackerPer Mertesacker
9
HiguaínGonzalo Higuaín
Goal73
6
KoscielnyLaurent Koscielny
11
MaggioChristian Maggio (C)
7
RosickýTomáš Rosický
Substitution74
14
MertensDries Mertens
Yellow Card36
8
ArtetaMikel Arteta (C)
Yellow Card63
Red Card76
19
PandevGoran Pandev
Substitution57
11
ÖzilMesut Özil
20
DzemailiBlerim Dzemaili
Yellow Card41
12
GiroudOlivier Giroud
Yellow Card67
21
FernándezFederico Fernández
Yellow Card84
19
Santi CazorlaSanti Cazorla
Substitution68
27
ArmeroPablo Armero
20
FlaminiMathieu Flamini
33
AlbiolRaúl Albiol
25
JenkinsonCarl Jenkinson
85
BehramiValon Behrami
28
GibbsKieran Gibbs

Substitutes

15
ColomboRoberto Colombo (GK)
21
FabiańskiŁukasz Fabiański (GK)
3
UviniBruno Uvini
5
VermaelenThomas Vermaelen
5
BritosMiguel Britos
10
WilshereJack Wilshere
24
InsigneLorenzo Insigne
Substitution57
14
WalcottTheo Walcott
28
CannavaroPaolo Cannavaro
16
RamseyAaron Ramsey
Substitution68
Yellow Card84
88
InlerGökhan Inler
17
MonrealNacho Monreal
Substitution74
91
ZapataDuván Zapata
23
BendtnerNicklas Bendtner

Coach

Rafael Benítez (ESP) Arsène Wenger (FRA)

Referee

Viktor Kassai (HUN)

Assistant referees

György Ring (HUN), Vencel Tóth (HUN)

Fourth official

Robert Kispal (HUN)

Additional assistant referees

Tamás Bognar (HUN), Sandor Szabo (HUN)

Legend:

  • GoalsGoals
  • Own goalOwn goal
  • PenaltiesPenalties
  • Missed PenaltiesMissed Penalties
  • reds_cardRed Cards
  • yellow_cardsYellow cards
  • yellow_red_cardsYellow/red card
  • SubstitutionSubstitution
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