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25  Reina

4  Henrique (52')

21  Fernández

33  Raúl Albiol

31  Ghoulam

88  Inler (c)

85  Behrami (75')

19  Pandev 

14  Mertens 

9  Higuaín 

24  Insigne


Substitutions

15  Colombo

2  Réveillère

5  Britos

7  Callejón 
(83' Mertens)

17  Hamšík 
(68' Pandev)

20  Dzemaili

91  Zapata 
(78' Higuaín)


Coach

Rafael Benítez

SSC Napoli
FC Porto
Round of 16, second leg
221'  Pandev  90+2'  Zapata 
269'  Ghilas  76'  Quaresma 
Thursday, 20 March 2014 - 8:05 PM
Competition: UEFA Europa League
Stadium: San Paolo, Nápoles
Audience:
Referee: Martin Atkinson (England)
Assistant Referees: Stephen Child and Darren England; Anthony Taylor and Craig Pawson
4th Referee: Stuart Burt

24  Fabiano

2  Danilo

13  Reyes

22  Mangala (c)

21  Ricardo

25  Fernando (90')

35  Defour

20  Carlos Eduardo 

17  Varela 

9  Jackson Martínez

7  Quaresma 


Substitutions

41  Kadú

8  Josué 
(63' Carlos Eduardo)

10  Quintero

11  Ghilas 
(66' Ghilas)

16  Herrera

19  Licá 
(81' Quaresma)

46  Mikel


Coach

Luís Castro

3/20/2014

Skill, work and pain

This Thursday, thanks to a performance bursting of hard work and resistance to pain, with moments of great skill, FC Porto tied in the away game against Napoli, 2-2, and is in the quarter finals of the Europa League. The Dragons were losing for almost 50 minutes, but Ghilas, coming from the dugout, was once again the hero, just has in Frankfurt, setting the path for the masterpiece scored by Quaresma, nearly sentencing the round. In a match where Luís Castro was in evidence – for the way he set up the team –, along with goalkeeper Fabiano, the score was entirely dedicated to Helton.



Abdoulaye and Alex Sandro could not play, and Maicon travelled with the team, but was not one of the final 18 players. Therefore, the defence had the European debut in the starting team of youngsters Reyes (21 years old central defender) and Ricardo (20 years old), playing as a full-back this time. The absence of goalkeeper and captain Helton was also something new. It was no surprise that the first minutes brought an intense pressure by Napoli, who had to recover from a 1-0 disadvantage at Estádio do Dragão, having that pressure caused some problems to a defence that was playing together for the first time.

Still, the first 15 minutes had only a crossed shot by Henrique to register, as it almost beat Fabiano. When the Dragons seemed to finally stabilize, Pandev did the first goal of the night in a fast play, shooting the ball over the white and blue keeper, following a pass by Higuaín. Half an hour later, Fabiano would shine, preventing Insigne from scoring. By then, FC Porto was already passing the ball better, as that seemed the best strategy to face a team that kept waiting for the Dragons in their midfield only to sneak their forwards behind the white and blue defenders. 33 minutes in, a header by Jackson, outside the post and following a corner by Quaresma, was the most dangerous play of the first- half.

Fabiano made a name for himself yet again 51 minutes in, preventing Insigne from scoring the second goal for the Italians. FC Porto answered from a set piece, with Carlos Eduardo slightly heading the ball, 57 minutes in, after a free-kick by Quaresma, but the ball went outside the left post. The following minutes brought great pressure by the home team, with Fabiano, once again, preventing the goal, this time by Higuaín. Luís Castro immediately reacted, sending in Josué and Ghilas, replacing Carlos Eduardo and Varela. Both did magnificently in the match and the opportunity for Napoli to move on was gone.

Ghilas, who had already been the hero in Frankfurt, scored just three minutes after going in: Jackson dropped back to the midfield, and passed to Fernando, who saw the Algerian in good position to finish in calm. Napoli was then forced to score two goals and the volcano that was San Paolo suddenly collapsed. The Dragons took the opportunity and Defour, in a counter-attack, hit the post, 72 minutes in. Four minutes later, Quaresma showed up for a fantastic moment of football that started in the back heel of Josué; the number 7 took the pass, dribbled three opponents and scored in style.

The qualification for the quarter final was pretty much assured, as the Italians seemed to lack the strength and the time to score three goals. Zapata did tie the match, in stoppage time, but the objective was assured, with a special homage to Helton, out from the pitches for a long time due to his injury, but very close to the white and blue celebrations.

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