Swansea City 0 Napoli 0 match report: Swans shine but cannot find cutting edge against Italians in Europa League

Garry Monk's side now face tough task in return leg of Europa League tie

the liberty stadium

Swansea City dented Rafa Benitez's hopes of a record third Europa League trophy with a superb first-leg display.

Benitez is aiming to become the first manager to lift the cup with three different clubs following his success with Chelsea last season and Valencia in 2004.

But his side, currently third in Serie A, will count themselves lucky to be going into next Thursday's second leg at the San Paolo on even terms after being largely outplayed by the Welsh club.

Benitez's Chelsea were dumped out of the League Cup by Swansea at the Liberty Stadium last season, and with rookie manager Garry Monk now in charge they were as impressive as Michael Laudrup's side had been 13 months ago.

Swansea survived a couple of scares in the opening five minutes when Jose Callejon flashed a shot across goal and Marek Hamsik brought a superb save out of Michel Vorm. But Swansea soon went close themselves on a night they dominated, with 10 shots on target to Napoli's one.

Nathan Dyer thought he had given the home side the lead on six minutes but his chip was clawed out of the top corner by Napoli's Brazilian goalkeeper Rafael.

Wilfried Bony can’t believe it after a Swansea near-miss Wilfried Bony can’t believe it after a Swansea near-miss (Getty Images) Wilfried Bony then went close with two long-range drives as Monk's side began to grow in confidence against the Serie A giants.

The best opportunity of the half fell to Bony on 23 minutes after Pablo Hernandez put the striker through on goal with a perfect pass, but he took one touch too many and Rafael was able to race out and block his shot.

Napoli looked dangerous on the counter-attack with former Real Madrid forward Gonzalo Higuain leading the line but it was Swansea who were even more threatening. Jose Canas volleyed a shot just over the bar before Ashley Williams wasted a decent opening by heading over five minutes before half-time.

Napoli were much improved for a brief period after the interval but Higuain blazed a volley high and wide after being picked out at the back post by Hamsik.

Swansea regained control of the contest and almost grabbed the lead on 67 minutes when Williams rose to meet Jonathan de Guzman's free-kick with a header but it was palmed away by substitute goalkeeper Pepe Reina, on loan from Liverpool.

Napoli's goalkeeper Rafael Cabral (L) is injured during their Europa League soccer match against Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium in Swansea, Wales Napoli's goalkeeper Rafael Cabral (L) is injured during their Europa League soccer match against Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium in Swansea, Wales (Getty Images) Monk pushed for the win in the final 20 minutes sending on Reina's old Anfield teammate Jonjo Shelvey in an advanced midfield role. Shelvey had an immediate impact by finding Wayne Routledge with a precise pass but the winger's shot was turned around the post by Reina.

Man of the match Dyer.

Match rating 7/10.

Referee I Bebek (Cro).

Attendance 18,000.

Suggested Topics
Life and Style
love + sex A new study has revealed the average size - but does that leave men outside the 'normal' range being thought of as 'abnormal'?
Arts and Entertainment
TV
Voices
The Palace of Westminster is falling down, according to John Bercow
voices..says Matthew Norman
Sport
Steve Bruce and Gus Poyet clash
football
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Graham Norton said Irish broadcaster RTE’s decision to settle was ‘moronic’
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Jake and Dinos Chapman were motivated by revenge to make 'Bring me the Head of Franco Toselli! '
arts + ents Shapero Modern Gallery to show explicit Chapman Brothers film
Arts and Entertainment
Kurt Cobain performing for 'MTV Unplugged' in New York, shortly before his death
music Brett Morgen's 'Cobain: Montage of Heck' debunks many of the myths
Life and Style
life
Sport
Brendan Rodgers
football The Liverpool manager will be the first option after Pep Guardiola
News
Amazon misled consumers about subscription fees, the ASA has ruled
news
Arts and Entertainment
Myanna Buring, Julian Rhind-Tutt and Russell Tovey in 'Banished'
TV Jimmy McGovern tackles 18th-century crime and punishment
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Whitehouse as Herbert
arts + ents
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.

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn