Edinson Cavani converted a last-gasp penalty to give 10-man Napoli a 2-1 win away to AIK and qualify for the Europa League knockouts.



Edinson Cavani converted a last-gasp penalty to give 10-man Napoli a 2-1 win away to AIK and qualify for the Europa League knockouts.

The Partenopei climbed into second place with their 4-2 win over Dnipro and hoped to secure qualification with this trip to Sweden, having beaten AIK 4-0 at the San Paolo with an Edu Vargas hat-trick. Goran Pandev was injured and Federico Fernandez suspended, but Edinson Cavani started as he’ll be banned for this weekend’s Serie A game. The Rasundastadion in Solna, Stockholm, will be demolished in a few days.

Napoli took the lead with practically the first chance of the match. AIK had been going forward with a throw-in near the opposition area, but Cavani went on a blazing counter-attack and his pull-back was deflected into the air for Blerim Dzemaili to volley home from nine yards.

Andrea Dossena cleared a dangerous Mohamed Bangura cross-shot, then Bangura pounced on a Salvatore Aronica howler to go clear but only hit the side-netting.

AIK equalised with a goal out of nowhere from Helgi Danielsson, who was just inside the area when aiming a looping header over Antonio Rosati into the far top corner from the Viktor Lundberg cross. The Napoli defence and goalkeeper seemed rooted to the spot and completely stunned.

Johansson nodded on to the upright, but only after play had been halted for Bangura’s push on Rosati. AIK again hit the bar at the dawn of the second half, but after the offside flag had been raised.

Cavani flashed a shot across the face of goal practically from the by-line and Rosati got down to block a long-range Lundberg effort. At full stretch, Cavani just failed to redirect a Gokhan Inler cross from five yards.

There was absolute chaos in the AIK box on 65 minutes with a series of goalline clearances. The goalkeeper beat away Cavani’s attempt with his foot, then palmed the Vargas effort off the line and Ivan Turina was again forced to flap an attempted Niklas Backman clearance out before it became an own goal.

Cavani had a half-volley charged down again and Bangura went on a slaloming run before going down in the box. AIK threatened when Bangura unleashed a rocket that skimmed the crossbar.

Salvatore Aronica received a straight red card in the final stages, as his clearance was wayward and he brought down Bangura on the counter-attack. The referee perhaps harshly considered it to be a clear goal-scoring opportunity, though they were still in midfield.

Lorentzson’s volley was well wide and Rosati smothered a Danielsson effort. In stoppages Cavani went down under a clear trip from Per Karlsson and the referee pointed to the spot. The Uruguayan stepped up for the last kick of the game and coolly rolled it slowly into the near bottom corner to send Turina the wrong way.

AIK 1-2 Napoli

Scorers: Dzemaili 20 (N), Danielsson 35 (A), Cavani pen 93 (N)

AIK: Turina; Lorentzson, Karlsson, Backman, Johansson; Lundberg, Danielsson, Moro, Quaison (Karikari 76); Bangura, Borges

Napoli: Rosati; Gamberini, Aronica, Britos; Mesto (Zuniga 64), Donadel (Inler 62), Dzemaili (Hamsik 73), Behrami, Dossena; Cavani, Vargas

Ref: Hategan (ROU)

Sent off: Aronica 85 (N)

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