Superb Swansea hold Napoli

Swansea earned a hugely creditable 0-0 home draw with Serie A side Napoli in the first leg of their Europa League round of 32 contest at the Liberty Stadium.

Last Updated: 21/02/14 at 11:00 Post Comment

Wilfried Bony: Was unable to break the deadlock

Wilfried Bony: Was unable to break the deadlock

More of the games that matter

2 years free Sky Broadband Unlimited for Sky Sports customers

Rookie Swans boss Garry Monk was up against UEFA Champions League winner Rafa Benitez, with the Welsh side comfortably the better side on the night, but unable to make the most of the chances they created.

Napoli, who dropped into the Europa League after finishing behind Borussia Dortmund and Arsenal in the Champions League despite claiming 12 points from their group stage campaign, will be favourites to progress with the second leg on home turf, but were fortunate to depart with a clean sheet.

Napoli carved out the first chance with only five minutes gone and Michel Vorm was called upon to produce arguably the best stop of the half, plunging away to his left to push a stinging low shot from Marek Hamsik wide of the target.

Swansea were a whisker away from taking the lead with only six minutes gone as Nathan Dyer's curling first-time effort from the edge of the area was clawed away by visiting goalkeeper Rafael.

And the shot-stopper, who was preferred in the starting XI to Pepe Reina, was kept busy as he had to push away Wayne Routledge's dangerous cross before watching two well-struck shots by Wilfried Bony go narrowly wide.

Bony had a glorious chance to put his side ahead in the 22nd minute as Pablo Hernandez's delightful pass split the Napoli defence open, but Rafael was swiftly off his line to produce an excellent, but unorthodox, sprawling save as the ball struck him in the face.

Monk's men continued to press forward, with Ben Davies' dangerous cross fisted away by the busy Rafael before a weak attempted clearance presented possession to Jose Canas on the edge of the box but he could only volley over the crossbar.

Six minutes from the interval another chance went begging, a short corner routine catching Napoli napping with Hernandez's cross to the back post headed over the bar by Ashley Williams, with the centre-back left holding his head in his hands.

There was still time for Rafael to be called into action again before the break, reaching to get his finger-tips to a rising Routledge shot and then pushing Angel Rangel's header from the resulting corner over the top.

Rafael's game was brought to a premature conclusion at half-time by injury, with Reina sent on in his place, and the former Liverpool man had a quieter start than his team-mate, with Hernandez's quick feet taking him into the box only for Henrique to block his 55th minute effort.

Williams was called upon to produce an excellent tackle to deny Hamsik after the Napoli man had combined well with Jose Callejon to get in behind the Swansea defence on the right of the box.

The duo combined again in the 63rd minute to create another opportunity, but Callejon could only toe-poke his shot wide after neatly nut-megging Davies on the edge of the area.

Williams had his head in his hands again in the 67th minute after meeting Jonathan de Guzman's excellent free-kick to the far post with a firm header which was parried away by Reina.

Another opportunity was carved out by Swansea in the 76th minute, but again Reina was equal to Routledge's curling shot as he dived to his left to fist away, with the chance created by the returning Jonjo Shelvey after stepping off the bench as the game ended goalless.

Football365 Facebook Fan Page

The Football365 fan page is a great place to meet like minded people, have football related discussions and make new friends.

More Match Results

Thursday, 18 September 2014
20:05
Young Boys 5-0 Slovan  
Everton 4-1 Wolfsburg Report
S Bucuresti 6-0 Aalborg  
Fiorentina 3-0 Guingamp  
Leg Warsaw 1-0 Lokeren  
Lille 1-1 Krasnodar  
Metalist 1-2 Trabzonspor  
Napoli 3-1 Sp Prague  
PAOK S'nika 6-1 Dinamo Minsk  
Rio Ave 0-3 Dynamo Kiev  

Footer 365

Sky Bet Championship: Fulham thump Bolton, Huddersfield win at Wolves, Leeds held

Fulham thrashed Bolton 4-0 in the Championship, while Huddersfield won at Molineux to deny Wolves top spot.

Premier League: Sunderland boss Gus Poyet delighted Lee Cattermole stayed at club

Gus Poyet believes keeping Lee Cattermole was the best transfer decision he has made while at Sunderland.

Champions League: Liverpool out of sorts in 1-0 defeat at FC Basel

Liverpool paid the price for a disjointed performance as they fell to a 1-0 defeat to FC Basel in the Champions League.

Mail Box

It Was Better When City Were Rubbish

'I think I preferred it when we were s**t' says one City fan in the afternoon mailbox. There's a decent chat about the empty seats plus views on Liverpool and Roma...

Do City Really Need To Expand Their Stadium?

That's the question posed by one Man United fan in the mailbox after seeing the empty seats at the Etihad last night. Sadly, there isn't a single mail from a City supporter...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property