Napoli aim to avoid more El Madrigal misery
Monday, November 28, 2011
SSC Napoli will look to avoid a repeat of last season's UEFA Europa League elimination when they visit Villarreal CF with a place in the UEFA Champions League's last 16 within their reach.
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SSC Napoli will hope lightning does not strike twice when they visit El Madrigal on matchday six with their UEFA Champions League fate back in their own hands.
• The Serie A side suffered elimination from the UEFA Europa League when losing 2-1 at Villarreal CF in February and will want to avoid a repeat on a night when victory would take them into the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League for the first time.
• Napoli's 2-1 home win against Manchester City FC on 22 November lifted them back into second place in Group A, with a one-point advantage over the English side. So long as they match City's result against FC Bayern München, they will progress but a win would guarantee Walter Mazzarri's side qualification whatever the result in Manchester.
• Bottom-placed Villarreal are completely out of the equation but have pride to play for – and an unbeaten home record against Italian opposition to defend.
• Villarreal came from behind to win the teams' UEFA Europa League round of 32 encounter in February. After a goalless draw in Naples where the home side lost Salvatore Aronica to a red card, Juan Carlos Garrido's men fell behind to an 18th-minute Marek Hamšík goal in the return but replied through Nilmar (42) and Giuseppe Rossi (45) to progress.
• The lineups for their meeting in Spain on 24 February were:
Villarreal: Diego López, Gaspar, Gonzalo, Musacchio, Capdevila, Cazorla (Catalá 78), Borja Valero, Bruno Soriano, Cani (Marcos Gullón, 81), Rossi (Marco Ruben 89), Nilmar.
Napoli: De Sanctis, Campagnaro, Cribari (Mascara 82), Ruiz, Zúñiga, Gargano, Yebda (Pazienza 64), Dossena, Sosa (Cavani 53), Hamšík, Lavezzi.
• Napoli recorded a 2-0 home win against Villarreal in September thanks to goals from Hamšík (15) and Edinson Cavani (17).
• Villarreal are still seeking their first points in Group A after five straight defeats but their record against Italian visitors suggests Napoli, without a win in six on their European travels, can take nothing for granted.
• The Spanish club have posted five wins and a draw against Serie A opposition at El Madrigal – most recently a 4-1 success against S.S. Lazio in the 2009/10 UEFA Europa League group stage.
• Napoli have visited Spain only twice before in UEFA club competition and had contrasting fortunes. A 2-0 defeat at Real Madrid CF brought an end to their first European Champion Clubs' Cup campaign in the first round in September 1987, sealing a 3-1 aggregate loss. In the 1992/93 UEFA Cup first round Daniel Fonseca ensured a happier outcome by hitting all five goals in a 5-1 win at Valencia CF.
• Goran Pandev played for Lazio in their 1-1 home draw with a Villarreal side that included Gonzalo Rodríguez in the 2004/05 UEFA Cup group stage. The forward scored twice against Spain for the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia in a 3-2 friendly defeat in 2009, and three times against Real Madrid for Lazio in the 2007/08 UEFA Champions League group stage.
• Christian Maggio is a team-mate of Rossi with Italy while Juan Camilo Zúñiga and Cristián Zapata play together for Colombia.
• Gökhan Inler captained the Switzerland side that earned a surprise 1-0 win against eventual champions Spain in their opening match of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Carlos Marchena was an unused Spanish substitute.
• Cavani and Hernán Peréz were second-half substitutes for Uruguay and Paraguay respectively in July's Copa América final in Buenos Aires, Uruguay winning 3-0.
• Zapata joined Villarreal this summer after six seasons at Udinese Calcio, where he had spells playing alongside Morgan De Sanctis, Andrea Dossena and Inler. Zapata faced Napoli six times, recording two wins, two draws and two defeats, scoring a third-minute own goal in a 3-1 loss at the Stadio San Paolo on 2 February 2008.
• De Sanctis spent 2007/08 at Sevilla FC, making eight Liga appearances.
• Mario Santana started his career at CA San Lorenzo in Argentina but left in 2001/02, the season before Gonzalo broke into the first team. Ezequiel Lavezzi also played for San Lorenzo.