Napoli have it all to do to reach the Europa League final after Dnipro hit them with a sucker-punch equaliser to draw the first leg of their semifinal 1-1 in Italy. Rafa Benitez’s side dominated virtually the whole game but only had David Lopez’s second-half header to show for it on the scoreboard and Yevhen Seleznyov controversially made them pay for their profligacy late on. Replays showed Seleznyov was offside as he smashed home the away goal that has given Dnipro, who have already beaten Olympiacos, Ajax and Club Brugge in the competition, the upper hand. The Partenopei aimed to continue their march towards the Europa League Final, as Rafa Benitez was determined to win a record third edition. Jonathan de Guzman, Michu and Juan Camilo Zuniga were injured, while Lorenzo Insigne and Jorginho were preferred to Dries Mertens and Gokhan Inler. The Ukrainians missed Ondrej Mazuch, Egidio, Yevhen Shakhov and Roman Zozulya. Typical for a first-leg, both sides set […]

SEVILLA v FIORENTINA Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán Stadium, Seville Thursday 7th May, 2015, 19:05 GMT  *** Sevilla, the current holders of the Europa League trophy, have been paired with Fiorentina in the semi finals and the Spanish side have home advantage in Thursday night’s first leg. Sevilla have been really impressive in the knockout rounds of this competition although they needed a late goal away at Zenit to draw 2-2 on the night and squeeze through 4-3 on aggregate. In earlier knockout rounds they beat Borussia Monchengladbach 1-0 at home and 3-2 in the return in Germany and in the Round of 16 clash with Villarreal, Sevilla won 3-1 away from home and 2-1 in front of their own supporters. They made a habit of winning their home legs on their way to lifting this trophy last season and they are also going well domestically. Sevilla went down 3-2 at home to Real Madrid in a La Liga fixture at the weekend […]

NAPOLI v DNIPRO Stadio San Paolo, Naples Thursday 7th May, 2015, 19:05 GMT  *** Napoli meet Ukrainian outsiders Dnipro in the semi finals of the Europa League and the Italian side are favorites to take a first leg lead on Thursday night. Napoli have lost just one game in this competition this season, a group stage match away at Young Boys. The have been impressive in the first legs of their three knockout rounds so far, the first of which saw them beat Turkish side Trabzonspor 4-0 away from home and they also won the return 1-0. In the Round of 16 Napoli were 3-1 winners at home to Dinamo Moscow and they played out a goalless draw in Russia in the second leg. Wolfsburg provided the opposition in the quarter finals and once again Napoli took control in the first leg, winning 4-1 in Germany and playing out a 2-2 draw in the second meeting. Domestically Napoli are fourth in […]

NAPOLI v WOLFSBURG Stadio San Paolo, Naples Thursday 22nd April, 2015, 19:05 GMT  *** Wolfsburg will require a major turn of events to get the better of Napoli on Thursday and progress to the semi-finals of the Europa League.Napoli host the German team at the San Paolo stadium, holding a 4-1 advantage from last week’s opening leg. They are unbeaten in 11 European home games and are attempting to reach the last four of a major European competition for the first time since they lifted the UEFA Cup in the 1988-89 campaign. Napoli, who are battling to qualify for Champions League football next season, warmed up for Thursday’s encounter with a 3-0 triumph at Cagliari on Sunday. The outcome in Sardinia lifted the Benitez’s side to fourth in the standings, one place and five points adrift of Roma, who hold the last Champions League qualifying spot. Wolfsburg travel to the south of Italy knowing that no team has ever progressed in […]

WOLFSBURG v NAPOLI Volkswagen Arena, Wolfsburg Thursday 16th April, 2015, 19:05 GMT  *** Wolfsburg and Napoli continue their Europa League campaigns on Thursday when they meet at the Volkswagen Arena in the first leg of the quarter-finals. The Germans saw off Inter Milan in the last round, while the Italians defeated Dynamo Moscow to seal their progress. Napoli will have their greatest test so far in this season’s Europa League when they play against Wolfsburg on Thursday night. The Partenopei will travel to Germany for the first leg of the quarter finals on the 55th birthday of their coach Rafa Benitez, but it won’t be easy for his team to make it one to remember. Napoli have not played against strong opposition so far and they will be facing an in-form Wolfsburg team. On the other hand, the Neapolitans shouldn’t be written off too quickly. Benitez’s team have scored three times or more in a match on five occasions in the […]