Napoli honoured the memory of Diego Maradona with a 2-0 win over Rijeka which allowed them to go top of Europa League Group F in the first match since the death of their Argentine icon. Gennaro Gattuso’s side entered the field all wearing the number 10 jersey of Maradona, who won Napoli’s only Serie A titles in 1987 and 1990 as well as the 1989 UEFA Cup.
“Diego is a legend and will never die,” Gattuso said after the match. “Since yesterday you could see that the city breathed a different atmosphere. “We hope to dedicate something important to him and win a trophy. In this city we have talked about it for too many years.”
Napoli made sure the fans gathered outside to pay their respects to Maradona weren’t disappointed by the current team as an Armando Anastasio own goal and a simple Hirving Lozano finish sealed the points.
Napoli are now two points ahead of AZ Alkmaar and Real Sociedad following their goalless draw in the Netherlands. Fellow Italian side Roma made their way into the last 32 with a 2-0 win at Romanian side Cluj, while Hoffenheim joined them after ensuring their respective passages into the next round from L.
Earlier Jame Vardy’s last-gasp leveller in a thrilling 3-3 at Braga sent Leicester City through to the knockout rounds, where they were also joined by Arsenal thanks to their 3-0 win at Molde. Leicester looked dead and buried when Fransergio put the hosts 3-2 ahead in the first minute of added time, but Vardy stole in at the back post shortly after to tap in the goal that put the Premier League side into the last 32.
Brendan Rodgers’ side are top of Group G on 10 points, three ahead of Braga in second and seven in front of third-placed AEK Athens with two games to play after the Greeks’ 3-0 home defeat at the hands of Zorya Luhansk. Tottenham Hotspur are level on nine points with Group J leaders Royal Antwerp after a 4-0 thumping of bottom side Ludogorets, who are yet to pick up a single point.
Spur’s comfortable home win was the stage for an incredible long range strike from Harry Winks, whose launch from near the left wing put Jose Mourinho’s side three goals ahead following an earlier Carlos Vinícius brace. Lucas Moura rounded off the scoring in the 73rd minute as the Premier League high-flyers eye an intriguing London derby with in-form Chelsea at the weekend. Lille missed out on qualification after they could only draw 1-1 with an AC Milan side missing the injured Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The Ligue 1 outfit are top of Group H.
UEFA Europa League results
Group A: CFR Cluj (ROM) 0 Roma (ITA) 2 (Debeljuh 49-og, Veretout 67-pen); CSKA Sofia (BUL) 0 Young Boys (SUI) 1 (Nsame 34)
Group B: Molde (NOR) 0 Arsenal (ENG) 3 (Pepe 50, Nelson 55, Balogun 83); Dundalk (IRL) 1 (Shields 63) Rapid Vienna (AUT) 3 (Knasmullner 11, Kara 37, 58)
Group C: Bayer Leverkusen (GER) 4 (Schick 29, Bailey 48, Demirbay 76, Alario 80) Hapoel Be’er Sheva (ISR) 1 (Shviro 58); Nice (FRA) 1 (Gouiri 61) Slavia Prague (CZE) 3 (Lingr 15, Olayinka 64, Sima 75)
Group D: Rangers (SCO) 2 (Arfield 7, Roofe 69) Benfica (POR) 2 (Goncalo Ramos 78, Pizzi 81); Standard Liege (BEL) 2 (Tapsoba 63, Laifis 90+3) Lech Poznan (POL) 1 (Ishak 61)
Group E: Granada (ESP) 2 (Suarez 8, Alberto Soro 73) Omonia Nicosia (CYP) 1 (Asante 60); PSV Eindhoven (NED) 3 (Gakpo 20, Madueke 51, Malen 53) PAOK (GRE) 2 (Varela 4, Tzolis 13)
Group F: AZ Alkmaar (NED) 0 Real Sociedad (ESP) 0; Napoli (ITA) 2 (Anastasio 41-og) Lozano 75) Rijeka (CRO) 0
Group G: AEK Athens (GRE) 0 Zorya Luhansk (UKR) 3 (Gromov 61, Kabaiev 76, Yurchenko 86-pen); Braga (POR) 3 (Al Musrati 4, Paulinho 24, Fransergio 90+1); Leicester City (ENG) 3 (Barnes 9, Thomas 79, Vardy 90+5)
Group H: Lille (FRA) 1 (Bamba 65) AC Milan (ITA) 1 (Castillejo 46); Sparta Prague (CZE) 4 (Hancko 27, Julis 38, 80, Plavsic 90+4) Celtic (SCO) 1 (Edouard 15)
Group I: Qarabag (AZE) 2 (Zoubir 8, Matic 51) Sivasspor (TUR) 3 (Kone 40-pen, 79, Kayode 58); Maccabi Tel-Aviv (ISR) 1 (Pesic 47) Villarreal (ESP) 1 (Alex Baena 45)
Group J: Tottenham Hotspur (ENG) 4 (Carlos Vinícius 16, 34, Winks 63, Moura 73) Ludogorets (BUL) 0; LASK Linz (AUT) 0 Royal Antwerp (BEL) 2 (Refaelov 53, Gerkens 83)
Group K: Wolfsberg (AUT) 0 Dinamo Zagreb (CRO) 3 (Majer 60, Petkovic 75, Ivanusec 90+1); CSKA Moscow (RUS) 0 Feyenoord (NED) 0
Group L: Gent (BEL) 0 Red Star Belgrade (SRB) 2 (N. Petrovic 2, Milunovic 58); Slovan Liberec (CZE) 0 Hoffenheim (GER) 2 (Baumgartner 77, Kramaric 89-pen)
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