24.11.2021

Super Sobolev sends Spartak top to complete double over Napoli

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Spartak Moscow 2-1 Napoli
UEFA Europa League, Group C
Wednesday 24 November, Spartak Stadium

Goals: Spartak - Sobolev (pen) 3’, 28’; Napoli - Elmas 64’

Spartak started brightly once again in their Europa League campaign, but even they couldn’t have hoped for quite as fast a start as this, taking the lead after just three minutes from the penalty spot. Stanislav Lobotka tripped Quincy Promes just inside the area, leaving Aleksandr Sobolev to blast the ball into the right hand corner.

Sobolev later headed just over the bar, but Napoli hit back with chances of their own, only to find Aleksandr Selikhov in inspired form. Elif Elmas was denied by a stunning point-blank double save before what was arguably an even more impressive stop from Piotr Zielinski. The Polish midfielder swivelled on the spot to fire an effort goalwards, and although he was unsighted and already diving one way, Selikhov reached up a firm hand to keep out the shot.

Sobolev struck again before the half-hour mark with a solid header into the bottom corner after Victor Moses patiently toyed with Mario Rui to eke out space for a cross towards the back post. 

Within seconds of the restart Mikhail Ignatov had danced his way into the area honing in on the six yard box before being crowded out, such was the hosts’ confidence. Warning signs flickered five minutes later though when Zielinski’s cross was flicked on to Giovanni Di Lorenzo to control and steer home, only for the linesman to rule it out for offside.

Napoli were not done yet though, and just after the hour Elmas eventually found a way past Selikhov; Andrea Petagna crossed from the right to the unmarked North Macedonia international to head home from a few yards out.

Once again Elmas threatened late on, sending a close-range diving header towards the bottom corner, but Selikhov was his equal as he got down in time to push it away.

Spartak go top of the group on seven points, while Napoli remain drop to second on seven points.

Next Europa League fixtures: Thursday 9 December - Napoli vs Leicester; Legia Warsaw vs Spartak


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