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Napoli content as Sparta eye Young Boys decider

AC Sparta Praha's Josef Hušbauer admitted a draw with SSC Napoli felt like a defeat but ultimately makes little difference – it was always going to come down to matchday six.

Napoli forward Gonzalo Higuaín shields the ball from Mario Holek
Napoli forward Gonzalo Higuaín shields the ball from Mario Holek ©AFP/Getty Images

Josef Hušbauer and Marek Matějovský hit bar as Napoli advance with 0-0 draw
Sparta need a point on matchday six to join them in the last 32
Hušbauer and David Lafata warn that Sparta cannot play for a draw
Rafael Benítez credits Raúl Albiol and Rafael Cabral for keeping Sparta at bay
Next games: Young Boys v Sparta, Napoli v Slovan Bratislava (11 December)

Josef Hušbauer, Sparta midfielder 
The draw feels like a loss but at the same time, even victory would not have guaranteed us anything. We had a lot of chances compared with Napoli and it is a pity we could not convert any of them. I hit the crossbar and it could have gone in, then David Lafata got to the rebound but unfortunately for us the goalkeeper made a perfect save. We should have converted some of our opportunities.

We really wanted to qualify and celebrate at home with our fans. It did not happen but everything is still in our hands. The game in Berne will be drama until the very end. I anticipate a difficult game but we will not just defend. We tried to play for a draw once already this season, against Malmö, and it did not come off. If we score first, it will leave Young Boys in a difficult position.

Mario Holek, Sparta defender
At the start of the first half Napoli were the better team but, minute by minute, we started to keep pace and gradually we became the better side. We created chances, had efforts on goal and did not score. We deserved three points.

It is difficult to defend against the likes of Gonzalo Higuaín and Cristián Zapata – they are different types of players. Higuaín prefers long crosses behind the defence; Zapata loves the physical game and one-to-ones. You have to keep your distance and be very careful. The team worked hard to restrict them.

Mario Holek slides in to tackle Gonzalo Higuaín
Mario Holek slides in to tackle Gonzalo Higuaín©AFP/Getty Images

David Lafata, Sparta forward
It was difficult to find our way through the Napoli defence but we did create chances. Unfortunately we did not score. We did not have much luck. I had a great opportunity in the first half but I should have hit it harder or shot more to the side.

We played well but the decisive goal eluded us. Now one point will be enough for us in Berne but we cannot play for that. We have destiny in our own hands and we will cross swords with Young Boys on the 11th.

Rafael Benítez, Napoli coach 
We started well but after the first ten minutes Sparta put us under real pressure; in the second half we improved and created chances. I think a draw is a fair result on the balance of play. The positive news tonight is that we are through with one match to spare and we did not concede a goal. 

The match wasn't at all easy, but I saw a lot of positive things. Raúl Albiol and Rafael Cabral played very well, they were really dependable and prevented Sparta from scoring in several situations.