Napoli 3-2 Leicester City: Leicester City were eliminated from the Europa League group stage after a frantic 3-2 loss to a weakened Napoli, Eljif Elmas grabbed a brace in the game.
[wpdiscuz-feedback id=”wkparvu8se” question=” PLease your thoughts on Foxes exit from Europa League and dropped into the Europa Conference League” opened=”0″]Foxes out of the Europa League after suffering defeat in Naples, the Foxes are being relegated to the Europa Conference League because Legia Warsaw missed a stoppage-time penalty in a 1-0 loss to Spartak Moscow in the group’s other match.[/wpdiscuz-feedback]
Despite the fact that Napoli has been without numerous first-team players due to injury or illness, they have scored in each of their previous nine games. Andrea Petagna’s blocked shot twisted into the foot of Adam Ounas, who arrowed a finish past Kasper Schmeichel in the fourth minute, demonstrating their attacking threat.
Piotr Zieliski, the captain of the ‘Azzurri,’ was starting to turn the screw, with three goals in his last five outings, and it was his ball that launched the play for Napoli’s second goal on 24 minutes. Petagna was passed through and handed it off to Elif Elmas, who tapped into an open net.
The ‘Foxes‘ had never won successive away games in European play, but they were handed a lifeline just three minutes later when Napoli failed to clear a James Maddison free-kick, which fell to Jonny Evans to slam home the equalizer.
Napoli had never failed to qualify from a Europa League group, but their perfect record was jeopardized when Leicester equalized on 33 minutes. A Maddison free-kick was only half-cleared once more, and academy graduate Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall drilled a 20-yard shot inside the post.
Seven minutes into the second half, the pendulum swung again when Giovanni Di Lorenzo’s right-wing cross found Elmas, whose silky first touch set him up for an easy finish to make it 3-2 and restore Luciano Spalletti’s side’s dominance.
Di Lorenzo was in the thick of things again moments later when he bizarrely cleared a ball across his own box, but Maddison couldn’t convert, instead hitting the post when he could have done better.
As Brendan Rodgers failed to qualify for the Europa League knockout rounds for the first time in his career, Foxes huffed and puffed, but Maddison’s mistake was their only true clear-cut chance for an equaliser.
ENOMAOMORUYI MAN OF THE MATCH…
FOXES TEAM NEWS…
Brendan Rodgers made three changes to the team that lost to Aston Villa on Saturday. Patson Daka, Ademola Lookman, and Luke Thomas were replaced by Jamie Vardy, Youri Tielemans, and Ryan Bertrand. Youri Tielemans’ comeback was a huge boost. With a calf ailment, the Belgian midfielder had missed Foxes last five games.
Foxes manager Brendan Rodgers speak to BT Sport:
I think we’ve done that [gone back to basics]. I think there’s a lot of naivety in our team and we’ve got a lot of young players. There’s been a bigger demand from them this season, and we’ve played a number of different systems and shapes. Individually it then comes down to having that mentality to track our runner or to stop a cross.
“That can be in whatever shape it is, but it’s my responsibility to find that solution. Tonight, we were good offensively but we were nowhere good enough defensively. I said to the players [at half-time] if we could just tighten up the gaps, and do the dirty side of the game.
“We’ve got to do more to block the shot for their first goal from their first attack. We needed to be more aggressive, the second goal we jump at the wrong time and that opens up the space and for the third goal, you’ve got to track the runner and stop the cross. These are the basics of the game we aren’t doing so well.
“We had chances to score a third in the second half. James [Maddison] has a huge chance that he’ll be disappointed with and there were other opportunities but we didn’t defend well enough ultimately.”
He was asked if Foxes can win the Europa Conference League?
“I have to be honest – I don’t even know what the competition is in all fairness. I was focused on the Europa League and winning this group. At the very least, finishing second so with all due respect to the competition, I’m not sure what it is. I’m sure I’ll find out soon enough.
“The Newcastle game now is very important. Our offensive side of the game has been bright. We look like we can score goals but you have to defend much better than we are and we need to look to get back to having that solidity in the team in every aspect. Being hard to beat is always your basis and we have to get back to that.”
NEXT UP FOR FOXES…
Leicester host Newcastle in the Premier League on Sunday kick-off at 2 pm.