EL: Napoli can’t complete Granada comeback

Napoli managed to beat Granada with Piotr Zielinski and Fabian Ruiz goals, but the 2-1 win was not enough to overturn their 2-0 first leg defeat and their Europa League is over.

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Napoli managed to beat Granada with Piotr Zielinski and Fabian Ruiz goals, but the 2-1 win was not enough to overturn their 2-0 first leg defeat and their Europa League is over.

Follow all the action as it happens from this game, Milan-Red Star and Roma-Braga on the LIVEBLOG.

There was a mountain to climb for the Partenopei, who lost the first leg 2-0 and whose injury crisis was just getting worse, missing Victor Osimhen, Hirving Lozano, Andrea Petagna, Kostas Manolas, David Ospina, Diego Demme and Elseid Hysaj. Gennaro Gattuso switched to a three-man defence, while Granada made the trip without Quini, Luis Suarez and Neyder Lozano, plus Yangel Herrera was carrying a knock. Darwin Machis pulled out in the warm-up, replaced by Antonio Puertas.

It took under three minutes for Napoli to break the deadlock and halve the aggregate scoreline, as Piotr Zielinski surged forward through the centre, swerved to surprise Duarte and drilled in with his left boot from the edge of the box.

Granada had the ball in the net too moments later, but Puertas was a long way offside on the flicked-on free kick. There was no flag on the equaliser, as Napoli made it too easy with no pressure on the Dimitri Foulquier cross or the Angel Montoro free header.

Lorenzo Insigne’s free kick bounced off the crossbar and Giovanni Di Lorenzo was offside when scoring on a ball over the top. Granada lost Maxime Gonalons to a thigh injury just before half-time and then Carlos Neva limped off in tears too with a suspected hamstring strain.

Faouzi Ghoulam came on for the second half, moving Napoli back to their usual four-man defence, and Eljif Elmas was denied by Rui Silva from point-blank range, but Fabian Ruiz’s first touch let him down.

Fabian Ruiz hadn’t got the best touch moments later on an Insigne pass either, but this time he still managed to prod the finish past Rui Silva at the near bottom corner for 2-1.

Dries Mertens was thrown on too and suddenly there was a sense of urgency about Napoli. Matteo Politano’s strike was charged down and an Insigne volley smothered, while Mertens saw his header go wide of the near post.

Tiemoue Bakayoko had the ball in the net, but was penalised for his push, then Fabian Ruiz shinned into the stands from a promising position.

Napoli tried to the end with Insigne and Fabian Ruiz efforts deflected, then Rui Silva managed an extraordinary reaction save on Faouzi Ghoulam’s header from a corner.

Zielinski drilled wide and the Partenopei poured forward during seven minutes of stoppages, awarded for some spectacular Granada time-wasting.

Napoli 2-1 Granada (2-3 agg)

Zielinski 3 (N), Montoro 25 (G), Fabian Ruiz 59 (N)

Napoli: Meret; Rrahmani, Koulibaly, Maksimovic (Ghoulam 46); Di Lorenzo, Fabian Ruiz, Bakayoko, Elmas (Mertens 60); Zielinski; Politano, Insigne

Granada: Rui Silva; Foulquier, German (Herrera 55), Duarte, Neva (Neuhen Perez 46); Montoro (Vallejo 84), Brice; Puertas, Gonalons (Victor Diaz 45), Kenedy; Molina (Soldado 84)

Ref: Siebert (GER)

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