Villarreal 1-0 Napoli: Wondergoal gives Spanish side a deserved win
Villarreal beat Napoli 1-0 on Thursday night at the Estadio El Madrigal in the Europa League.
The home side were on top for much of the game but it was a brilliant late strike from Denis Suarez which finally broke the deadlock.
Napoli started poorly and were unable to get out of their own half in the opening exchanges.
Pepe Reina had to make an important save after giving away the ball at the edge of his area before scrambling across to close down the shot from Bruno Soriano.
The Italians improved somewhat and looked dangerous on the counterattack but it was still the hosts who controlled the tempo.
Dries Mertens almost found Manolo Gabbiadini in the area but the striker just missed his cross.
Vlad Chiriches had a chance on the volley in the 25th minute but was unable to keep it down.
Villarreal pressed hard towards the end of the first half but were unable to create a real chance and the sides went into the break with the score goalless as the game lacked quality.
The game continued in a similar vein after the break as the Spaniards continued to play well without creating a huge amount while the Partenopei posed the odd question on the break.
Jose Callejon had a good chance on the hour after being played through by Mirko Valdifiori but the Spaniard fired wide.
Villarreal should have taken the lead in the 65th minute after some tidy short passes saw the ball fall at Cedric Bakambu’s feet but the DR Congo international fired over from close range.
Roberto Soldado found himself on the right end of a counterattack but missed the target.
El Submarino Amarillo took the lead in the 82nd minute with a brilliant Denis Suarez free kick that beat Reina via the underside of the bar.
The two sides will do it all again on 25 February with the Serie A side lacking an away goal.