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Cavani catapults Napoli past stunned Steaua

SSC Napoli 1-0 FC Steaua Bucureşti
The visitors were left crestfallen as Edinson Cavani's 93rd-minute winner sent the Italian side through at the Romanian club's expense.

Cavani catapults Napoli past stunned Steaua
Cavani catapults Napoli past stunned Steaua ©UEFA.com

Edinson Cavani once again proved the scourge of FC Steaua Bucureşti as his 93rd-minute winner sent SSC Napoli through to the UEFA Europa League round of 32 at their visitors' expense.

The game looked up for the Partenopei, needing victory to steal second in Group K, when Cavani's shot came back off the upright with seven minutes remaining. Yet the striker who struck in the eighth minute of added time as Napoli came from 3-0 down in the reverse fixture repeated the feat here, rising at the near post to head in from a corner. Even Paolo Cannavaro's subsequent dismissal could not temper their joy.

Steaua have therefore not beaten Italian opposition in 13 attempts but none can hurt more than this. Marius Lăcătuş's side ended the game as they had started it: on the defensive. The hosts gave them little option, packing the midfield, showing purpose and, on ten minutes, almost forging ahead when Marek Hamšík lobbed a fine first-time pass into the path of Cavani. The Uruguay striker's finish, high over the bar, did not do justice to a man with 20 goals to his name this season.

Yet for all Napoli's possession and Hamšík's guile it was Steaua who posed the greater threat on the counterattack. Only poor control from Ricardo Gomes halted the Brazilian's run on goal and, on half-time, Geraldo Alves headed straight at Morgan De Sanctis after a searching free-kick. The goalkeeper's opposite number, Ciprian Tătăruşanu had to wait until seven minutes into the second period for his first meaningful intervention, smothering at Cavani's feet.

Tătăruşanu was less convincing against an innocuous enough Hamšík free-kick even if the Partenopei, so dominant, were still not really bearing their attacking teeth. Napoli, though, can never be written off and when Hamšík whipped in his added-time corner, Cavani provided the telling moment.

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