CHAMPIONS LEAGUE – Group F: Napoli too good for Arsenal but Gunners go through

Ten-man Arsenal were beaten 2-0 by Napoli at the Stadio San Paolo on Wednesday night but it didn’t deny their qualification to the Champions League Round of 16.

The Gunners were up against it in Naples with a fervent crowd and rampant Napoli side taking it up to the north Londoners in order to get the 3-0 result they required to move through to the knockout stages.

A tepid first half from the Partenopei gave Arsenal little to do but Rafael Benitez’s men came out firing in the second term, producing plenty of chances and scoring twice to send some scares through Arsene Wenger’s camp.

Ironically it was a Gunners summer target, Gonzalo Higuain, who broke the deadlock in the 73rd minute when he played a neat one-two with Jose Callejon before turning in the area and slashing past Wojciech Szczesny.

That sent the fans into raptures and it only spurred the home side on, especially after Mikel Arteta was sent off for a second yellow card three minutes later.

The Gunners had held out well with one less man before substitute Lorenzo Insigne played a beautiful through ball for Callejon to flick over the advancing Arsenal keeper deep into injury-time.

News had filtered through that eventual group winners Borussia Dortmund scored a late goal in Marseille to take a 2-1 lead in the other Group F match, meaning Napoli needed a third goal to qualify, but time was not on their side as the Gunners scraped through in second place with the Italians dropping into the Europa League after finishing third.

2013/14 UEFA Champions League scores – Group F

Napoli (ITA): 2 (Gonzalo Higuain 73’, Jose Callejon (90+3’)
Arsenal (ENG): 0 (red card: Mikel Arteta 76’)
Stadio San Paolo, Naples, Italy – 47,000

 
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