Napoli's continental class tells against Dinamo

That it was comfortable for SSC Napoli at FC Dinamo Moskva shows how strong a contender Rafael Benítez's team can be, writes's Richard van Poortvliet.

Rafael Benítez's tactics were spot on against Dinamo Moskva
Rafael Benítez's tactics were spot on against Dinamo Moskva ©AFP/Getty Images

Higuaín the difference
Three goals last week from Gonzalo Higuaín proved the difference between SSC Napoli and FC Dinamo Moskva. While their Russian opponents lacked a cutting edge in the box, the former Real Madrid CF forward certainly did not. The Argentinian international may have been quiet in the second leg as he was well marshalled by the Dinamo defence, but his ability to take chances is one of the reasons Napoli have the potential to go far in this competition.

Napoli fear no one
To overcome a side that had a 100% record in the UEFA Europa League group stage is no mean feat. However, Napoli, helped by players with a wealth of experience at the highest level, had few problems dispatching Stanislav Cherchesov's young but inexperienced team. Midfielder David López says the Neapolitans "fear no one" going into the quarter-finals. And given the quality down the spine of Rafael Benítez's lineup, and their European know-how, few clubs will be looking forward to a trip to Naples.

Flexibility under Benítez
While a 0-0 draw would have suited Napoli perfectly coming into this game, considering how they started the match it seemed the visitors were intent on increasing their advantage. Benítez's side might have been 2-0 up at least by half-time but for better finishing. However, as Dinamo began to apply the pressure in the second half, the experienced Spanish coach altered his tactics to sit back and to try hit the hosts on the counter. Overall, Napoli's game plan worked to perfection; they showed they can adapt to the situation in front of them.

Gracious in defeat
Over these two round of 16 legs Napoli were the better team – calmer on the ball and with their familiarity of high-stakes fixtures telling in the end. Dinamo midfielder Balázs Dzsudzsák was gracious enough to admit the Russians had come off second best, with plenty of work to do if they want to be competitive against the continent's better sides.

Dinamo lost the tie in Naples
Christopher Samba gave a very honest opinion of Dinamo's performance across the 180 minutes. While he commended their second-leg showing, he called the display in Italy "an embarrassment". The 3-1 deficit certainly left Cherchesov's men with too much to do tonight. Even so, Dzsudzsák believes they can learn from their mistakes and hopefully become more streetwise in future campaigns.

The quarter-final draw is in Nyon on Friday at 13.00CET