Salzburg 3-1 Napoli; Player ratings, Rui the brightest spark as Napoli limp into Europa League quarter finals

14 March at 20:55
Salzburg 3-1 Napoli (agg 3-4)
Napoli booked their place in the Europa League quarter finals, at the expense of last year’s semi-finalists, despite a 3-1 defeat on the night, going through 4-3 on aggregate. Salzburg had incredibly not lost a game at home since November 2016, but despite a sluggish Napoli performance they were not able to overturn the first leg deficit, having lost 3-0 in Naples.

Napoli took the lead in a lively first half, when Rui won the ball down the left before firing a ball across the six-yard box, which ricocheted its way to Milik at the far post who acrobatically volleyed home. Salzburg equalised when Allan lost the ball cheaply in midfield, and Szoboszlai fed Dabbur with a nicely weighted pass. Dabbur jinked past Chiriches and slotted home past Meret to level the score on the night.

Napoli looked disjointed and sat back far too much in the second half, inviting Salzburg onto them. The Austrian side took advantage in the 65th minute, when Gulbrandsen put them ahead on the night, and gave the home fans a glimmer of hope. Salzburg however weren’t able to score again until it was too late, when Leitgeb fired in a loose ball from the edge of the six-yard box.  Napoli will be disappointed by their performance tonight, especially in the second half, but eventually just had enough to limp into the next round.
 
Player Ratings
 
Meret –5.5 - Had little chance with any of the Salzburg’s goals, but never looked particularly convincing.
Hysaj – 5.5 - Very little impact in the opponent’s half and was caught out for Salzburg’s second goal.  
Chiriches – 6 - Went to ground too easily for Salzburg’s first goal. Looked exposed whenever the opposition ran at him. Went off injured in the 77th minute with a possible hamstring injury.
Luperto – 5.5 - Struggled to cope with the movement of the Salzburg strike-force, and didn’t look very comfortable with the ball at his feet.
Rui – 6.5 - Great work down the left to set up Milik for the opening goal of the game. Combined well with Zielinski down the left in the first half but was penned back in the second.
Callejon – 6 - Energetic performance, but to little effect. He led the Napoli press impressively in the first half, but seemed to tire in the second as Napoli sat a lot deeper.
Allan – 5.5 - Gave the ball away cheaply in the build up to Salzburg’s goal, and was dominated in midfield at times by Samassekou.
Fabian – 6.5 - Rattled the post with a scorching effort from distance in the first half. Let the second half pass him by.
Zielinski – 6 - Nice one-two with Rui in the build up to the first goal, otherwise fairly anonymous. Replaced in the 74th minute.
Mertens –6 - Played a sublime through ball for Milik in the first half, but faded badly in the second. Hasn’t lived up to his own high standards recently. Substituted late on.
Milik – 6 - He opened the scoring early on with an acrobatic finish, but was a passenger for the rest of the evening. Was left very isolated in the second half.
Subs
Diawara (74th min) – 6 - Brought on to solidify the team following Salzburg’s second goal, but failed to prevent a late onslaught.
Malcuit(78th min) –6 - Struggled to pick up the pace of the game after coming on.
Ounas (89th min) – N/A
 

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