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.

Arts and Entertainment
The teaser trailer has provoked more questions than answers
filmBut what is Bond's 'secret' that Moneypenny is talking about?
Sport
football This was Kane’s night, even if he played just a small part of it
Travel
travel Dreamland Margate, Britain’s oldest amusement park, is set to reopen
News
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Founders James Brown and Tim Southwell with a mock-up of the first ever ‘Loaded’ magazine in 1994
media
News
Threlfall says: 'I am a guardian of the reality keys. I think I drive directors nuts'
people
Voices
voices The group has just unveiled a billion dollar plan to help nurse the British countryside back to health
News
The Westgate, a gay pub in the centre of Gloucester which played host to drag queens, has closed
news
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.

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss