Napoli’s main goal this season is to reach the Champions League, so the priority is to play well in Serie A and the Europa League is being treated a bit neglectfully. On Wednesday, coach Luciano Spalletti gave a chance to several substitutes (including Alex Meret, Stanislav Lobotka, Juan Jesus and Andrea Petagnia). But they did not take this chance. Within 60 seconds, Lobotka had two unsuccessful plays to his credit. Moments later, he fouled the opponent in his own penalty area, and the penalty – in the third minute – was probably used by Aleksandr Sobolev. The 195 cm tall Russian also scored a second goal when he won the header against Kalidou Koulibale. After the first half, Spartak was leading 2-0, although he did not show anything big. Neither Napoli.
Napoli took the initiative after the break. First Giovane Di Lorenzo hit the net, but it turned out that he was offside. In the 64th minute, Mario Rui played to the right wing to Petagnia, which was handed by Elif Elmas with a soft throw, and the rising star of North Macedonia scored the goal with his head.
And it was Elmas who was the best guest player. Napoli prevailed to the last whistle. They made as many as 9 shots on target (Spartak only 3) and held the ball more often (69 to 31 percent). Piotr Zieliński played a rather bland game.
The defeat of Napoli significantly thwarted their plans. But it also thwarted the plans of Legia, which will play with Leicester on Thursday, and with Spartak in the 6th round. All teams can still advance.
Europa League group C table
- Spartak 5 matches, 7 points
- Napoli 5 matches, 7 points
- Legia 4 matches, 6 points
- Leicester 4 games, 5 points