Europa League – Controversial Yevhen Seleznyov goal earns Dnipro draw at Napoli
Europa League semi-final first leg, Stadio San Paolo – Napoli 1 (David Lopez 50) Dnipro 1 (Seleznyov 80)
The Ukraine international appeared to be in an offside position as he stabbed home with his first touch in the 80th minute after coming off the bench moments earlier.
His goal cancelled out David Lopez’s header and was reward for a fine evening in the sticks from Dnipro goalkeeper Denys Boyko.
The Ukrainian kept his side in the game for most of the second half, foiling Gonzalo Higuain on several occasions as the hosts looked to build on their opener.
In the end though they were left frustrated and have their work cut out as they head to the Ukraine for the second leg. For much of the first half they looked devoid of answers to the visitors’ resolute defence and will have to play a lot better next Thursday if they are to progress.
6’ – CHANCE FOR NAPOLI! Insigne’s effort deflects towards the centre of the box where Callejon is arriving, but the Spaniard fluffs his chance.
9’ – CHANCE FOR NAPOLI! Insigne sends a dipping volley just past Denys Boyko’s right-hand upright from the edge of the box.
23’ – CHANCE FOR DNIPRO! Out of absolutely nothing, Jaba Kankava forces Napoli goalkeeperMariano Andujar into a low, diving save with a rasping drive.
50’ – GOAL FOR NAPOLI! After Hamsik’s lob is cleared behind, Lopez rises to head the resulting corner into the net, and his side into the lead.
Lopez celebrates his goal for Napoli against Dnipro
55’ – CHANCE FOR NAPOLI! Boyko stands tall to deny Higuain after the Argentine is found in the area by Hamsik.
60’ – CHANCE FOR NAPOLI! Higuain drives past Douglas and into the box but Boyko is again the hero for Dnipro as he saves well.
78’ – CHANCE FOR NAPOLI! A great drag-back from Higuain in the area, but his deflected effort is tipped over by Boyko.
80’ – GOAL FOR DNIPRO! Artem Fedetskyi crosses from the right, but Seleznyov is clearly standing in an offside position before tapping home at the far post.
David Lopez’s goal was Napoli’s 200th in all competitions under Rafael Benitez
Dnipro are still to beat Italian opposition away from home in five at.
Napoli’s Jorginho (L) fights for the ball with Dnipro’s Nikola Kalinic
Did Benitez get his team selection right? Napoli went into the game on the back of a 3-0 win overAC Milan, but the decision to leave Dries Mertens on the bench is sure to be picked on by the Italian media in the wake of such a disappointing result. However, to be fair to Benitez, after a sluggish first half, his side had numerous chances to put the game to bed once Lopez scored. Indeed, had Higuain been more clinical or Boyko not been in such fine form, then Napoli would be going to Ukraine defending a sizeable lead. As it is, Benitez will have to juggle his resources wisely with a top-three Serie A finish far from assured.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Denys Boyko (Dnipro): There was really only one candidate. In a 23-minute spell, the goalkeeper kept out Higuain four times to keep his side in it. Their resolute defending will be tested next week but Boyko is pretty much the only reason they were still in the game when Seleznyov struck.
Napoli: Andujar 6, Albiol 6, Britos 7, Ghoulam 7, Maggio 7, Hamsik 6, Lopez 6, Jorginho 6, Callejon 5, Higuain 7, Insigne 6. Subs: Gargano 6, Gabbiadini 5, Mertens 5
Dnipro: Boyko 8, Cheberyachko 7, Fedetskiy 6, Douglas 6, Rotan 7, Leo Matos 5, Kankava 7, Fedorchuk 6, Konoplyanka 6, Luchkevych 6, Kalinic 5. Subs: Bruno Gama 6, Bezus 6 Seleznyov 7