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
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test
Tour de France 2015: Twins Simon and Adam Yates have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Twins have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Yates brothers will target the steepest sections in bid to win a stage in France
John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy