Arsenal dump Napoli out of Europa League to seal semi-final qualification (Match Report)

The last Serie A club in European competitions Napoli have been bundled out the Europa League after losing to Arsenal by 1-0 (3-0 aggregate).

Arsenal had a very aggressive start, but were almost caught out on a rapid counter-attack led by Kalidou Koulibaly, who rolled across for Jose Callejon to force a Petr Cech save with his legs at the back post.

Arkadiusz Milik had the ball in the back of the net on 24 minutes, but was flagged offside in an extremely tight decision. There is no VAR in the Europa League, as otherwise that would’ve gone to a check.

Moments later, Milik was onside only to turn his diving header wide from a Piotr Zielinski cross in a very promising position.

Ramsey pulled up clutching his left hamstring and had to make way for Henrikh Mkhitaryan just 34 minutes in.

However, Arsenal scored with their first genuine opportunity, as Alex Meret did not set his wall out properly, leaving a huge gap at the far top corner where Alexandre Lacazette curled his free kick from 25 metres out.

This made it 3-0 on aggregate, with Napoli needing four goals to qualify, as Arsenal also now had a precious away goal.

Callejon continued to waste chances, his header over the bar and a ferocious volley wide of the far post on Insigne’s cross, while Zielinski also had an effort charged down by a sea of Arsenal legs.

Carlo Ancelotti had to gamble after the break, so introduced Dries Mertens for defender Nikola Maksimovic. Fabian Ruiz twice wasted promising opportunities set up by Insigne, but Meret needed a sensational reaction save one-on-one with Emmanuel Aubameyang.

Mertens bundled over the line, but only after Koulibaly had been flagged offside in another extremely debatable decision. Insigne did spring the offside trap, only to then pass it straight to Cech.

Milik managed to turn and saw his shot deflected wide by Laurent Koscielny, but the Poland international missed an absolute sitter on 74 minutes. Mario Rui whipped in a low cross that went past Nacho Monreal, but Milik somehow got it stuck under his feet from six yards as he came sliding in.

The man who came closest to scoring for Napoli was Arsenal defender Monreal, as only a desperate Cech reaction save prevented him turning a Mario Rui cross into his own net.

Photo Credit: uefa.com