Napoli 3 Swansea City 1 match report: Europa League hopes of Swans dashed by late goals from Gokhan Inler and Gonzalo Higuain

Napoli win 3-1 on aggregate

stadio san paolo

Swansea’s Europa League adventure ended in heartbreak as they were sunk by late goals from Gonzalo Higuain and Gokhan Inler at the Stadio San Paolo.

Jonathan de Guzman’s away goal had looked to be enough to send Garry Monk’s men through to the last 16. The Dutch midfielder had levelled after Lorenzo Insigne’s early strike, but Higuain capitalised on a defensive slip to lash the ball beyond Michel Vorm before Inler sealed matters in stoppage time.

“I’m disappointed but I’m not going to put that on the boys,” Monk said. “I could not have asked for any more from my players. We had more than enough chances in the 180 minutes but my players should be proud of themselves.I thought we dealt very well with the atmosphere.”

Swansea had to survive an early scare when Higuain took aim on the edge of the area, but captain Ashley Williams got in a crucial block.

The Welsh club knew an away goal would tilt the balance heavily in their favour, and it so nearly came on 11 minutes. Pablo Hernandez’s lovely pass found Marvin Emnes and the winger dinked the ball over the advancing Pepe Reina, only for Raul Albiol to clear. At the other end Higuain fired high over the bar.

Swansea City's Spanish defender Angel Rangel (L) challenges Napoli's Italian forward Lorenzo Insigne (R) for the ball Swansea City's Spanish defender Angel Rangel (L) challenges Napoli's Italian forward Lorenzo Insigne (R) for the ball (Getty Images)
Insigne showed him how it should be done in the 17th minute. Higuain’s flick beat the Swansea offside trap and the forward calmly lobbed Vorm. Swansea took time to settle, but when they did they hit back to stun the raucous crowd. Emnes came inside to find Wilfried Bony, whose lovely pass set up De Guzman to slide a left-footed shot beyond Reina.

Suddenly it was Napoli’s turn to look shaky, and Reina had to race off his line as another excellent Bony pass slipped Wayne Routledge in on goal. Bony then fired straight at Reina, before Ben Davies made an important challenge on Higuain as he tried to turn in the box.

Swansea were 45 minutes away from one of the greatest results in their history, but they showed no signs of simply trying to protect their advantage. Hernandez was a constant nuisance to the Napoli defence and the dissatisfaction of the partisan crowd was clear to hear.

Swansea City's Spanish midfielder Jose Alberto Canas (C) clears the ball under pressure from Napoli's Slovakian midfielder Marek Hamsik (R) and Napoli's Swiss midfielder Blerim Dzemaili (L) Swansea City's Spanish midfielder Jose Alberto Canas (C) clears the ball under pressure from Napoli's Slovakian midfielder Marek Hamsik (R) and Napoli's Swiss midfielder Blerim Dzemaili (L) (Getty Images)
De Guzman worked Reina with a swerving strike and Hernandez skewed an ambitious attempt at a first-time volley towards the touchline.

The visitors felt they should have had a penalty just before the hour when Dwight Tiendalli was clipped by Faouzi Ghoulam as he surged on to a loose ball. Napoli stepped up the pressure, and it took an excellent intervention by Chico Flores to deny Insigne after the striker had skipped past Tiendalli.

Swansea broke with purpose as Bony and Hernandez linked, but the striker could only head into Reina’s arms from point-blank range. It proved a costly miss as Higuain struck. Davies and Flores looked to have dealt with Dries Mertens’ ball into the box, but the ball bobbled between them, allowing Higuain to volley home before Inler provided the final blow.

Man of match Hernandez.

Match rating 8/10.

Referee O A Hategan (Rom). 

Attendance 27,000.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk