Slick Napoli ease past spirited Wolfsburg

SSC Napoli 2-2 VfL Wolfsburg (agg: 6-3)
Napoli confirmed their place in the last four but the German side exit with pride partially restored after recovering to draw on the night.

Reflecting on SSC Napoli's victory against VfL Wolfsburg, Rafael Benítez spoke of his delight at overcoming "a very good team" while he admitted that "all teams will be difficult" in the semi-finals.

• José Callejón opens his account in the 2014/15 UEFA Europa League
Dries Mertens adds another as Napoli become this season's highest scorers
Wolfsburg draw level with headers from Timm Klose and Ivan Perišić 
Napoli now 12 games unbeaten at home in European competition
Semi-final draw takes place in Nyon from 12.00CET on Friday

SSC Napoli confirmed their progress to the UEFA Europa League semi-finals after an entertaining second half produced a 2-2 draw with VfL Wolfsburg that helped them complete a 6-3 aggregate triumph.

Goalless at half-time, by midway through the second period the hosts were 2-0 up courtesy of José Callejón's deflected 50th-minute effort and a Dries Mertens strike. Wolfsburg restored some pride, with two headers in three minutes from Timm Klose and Ivan Perišić earning a draw on the night.

Rafael Benítez's side had the luxury of merely having to protect a three-goal lead from last week's quarter-final first leg and Wolfsburg took the game to them early on, in spite of the absence of injured key men André Schürrle and Kevin De Bruyne. Napoli goalkeeper Mariano Andújar made excellent saves from Perišić's header and a low Nicklas Bendtner drive.

The Partenopei's sole effort of the opening half came a minute from its conclusion as Gonzalo Higuaín volleyed wide, but they looked reinvigorated by the break and were quickly into their stride after it.

Rafael Benítez reacts to the result
Rafael Benítez reacts to the result

Mertens had already curled narrowly wide when Callejón claimed his first goal of this season's competition with a shot from just outside the area which took a wicked deflection off Ricardo Rodriguez before looping over the helpless Diego Benaglio in Wolfsburg's goal. Benaglio was even more unfortunate on 65 minutes after a fine stop with his legs to deny Mertens; the Belgian was alert to the rebound and tapped in.

Dieter Hecking's men had folded in the first instalment but showed plenty of spirit here as they hit back with two headers in the space of three minutes to reduce their overall arrears. Klose nodded in from a corner before Perišić stooped with a brave finish from Josuha Guilavogui's cross to level up the contest on the night.

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