Napoli v Arsenal - Champions League Wednesday as it happened - Live coverage - The Independent

Napoli v Arsenal - Champions League Wednesday as it happened

by Jack de Menezes
Welcome to The Independent's live commentary of tonight's Champions League Group F encounter between Napoli and Arsenal at the Stadio San Paolo.

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Follow all the latest news and updates below...
  • Welcome to The Independent's live commentary of tonight's Champions League Group F encounter between Napoli and Arsenal at the San Paolo Stadium.
    12/11/2013 5:48:58 PM
  • 12/11/2013 5:52:49 PM
  • 12/11/2013 5:54:46 PM
  • Remember Arsenal's pursuit of Gonzalo Higuian? Arsene Wenger does:
    Gonzalo Higuain, an Arsenal target this summer, did not play in the 2-0 defeat for the Italian side at the Emirates in October but he will be in the side tonight. Asked whether he might have signed Higuain as well as Mesut Ozil, Wenger said he found that one a difficult one to answer. “Am I happy with the player I got in Ozil? Very much,” he said.
    The Argentinian could line-up for Napoli tonight. Read more of what Arsene Wenger had to say HERE.
    12/11/2013 6:06:12 PM
  • So how does Group F shape up?
    Arsenal have won 4 out of their 5 European matches with both Napoli and Borussia Dortmund having won 3. Napoli are still firmly in the mix of securing a Champions League knock out spot. The Partenopei could draw and go through, but they would need Dortmund to lose at a Marseille side who are still seeking their first point in the competition.
    To read the match preview, CLICK HERE.
    12/11/2013 6:08:44 PM
  • Is Wenger a happier man these days? With Arsenal top of the table in Europe and the Premier League, it's hard to say no.

    12/11/2013 6:10:21 PM

  • 12/11/2013 6:15:33 PM
  • Who's confident of an Arsenal win tonight?

    12/11/2013 7:05:11 PM
  • So just to confirm how Group F could play out tonight:
    • Arsenal will qualify and top the group if they earn a draw or better at Napoli, and will qualify second if they avoid a three-goal defeat or worse and Dortmund win.
    • Borussia Dortmund will qualify with a win in Marseille, and also if they equal or better Napoli’s result. They can top the group if they win and Arsenal lose as long as the Gunners aren’t defeated by a one-goal margin of 4-3 or higher.
    • Napoli will qualify if they better Dortmund’s result, or beat Arsenal by three or more goals, which will also see them top the group.
    • Marseille are out of Europe altogether.
    12/11/2013 7:18:08 PM
  • Around 25 minutes to go until the action gets underway. I imagine nerves are building for a number of Arsenal fans. Are you confident of topping the group, or would you take going through as runner-up, given the chance? Let us know by using the comment button above.
    12/11/2013 7:21:04 PM
  • How was that first half for those of you at home:

    12/11/2013 8:36:49 PM
  • Half-time: A rather tense, and uninspiring half, but you can sense that Arsenal know exactly what they have to do. Napoli are looking to score, but have so far lacked that cutting edge up front that they'll need to improve on if they're to reach the last 16. Arsenal have lived life dangerously at times, but the defence appears to be working as one much as they have done this season. Barring the Szczesny error towards the end of the half, there hasn't been too much to worry about, and Giroud's chance with Ozil's missed follow-up remains the best chance so far.
    12/11/2013 8:39:20 PM
  • Injured Arsenal forward Lukas Podolski...

    12/11/2013 8:40:49 PM

  • 12/11/2013 8:42:59 PM
  • Laurent Koscielny is fouled by Blerim Dzemaili

    12/11/2013 8:45:27 PM
  • 46 mins: A rather long delay as we wait for Marseille to kick-off at the same time, but finally the second half is underway. No changes to report.
    12/11/2013 8:49:24 PM
  • 47 mins: Napoli look to unleash Higuain again, but Mertesacker just shields the ball back to Szczesny. Two early goals to report, and don't look Celtic fans. Neymar has added a second, while Jun has given Austria Vienna the lead against Zenit. That could be massive in the battle between the Russian club and Porto for the runner-up spot in Group G, although the Portuguese need to come back from a two goal deficit to Atletico.
    12/11/2013 8:52:28 PM
  • 50 mins: Giroud wins a throw-in that briefly stirs the crowd in anger, but they soon return to the constant boos when the Gunners have possession. Hosiner has added a third for Austria Vienna to make it 3-1 against Zenit, but as long as Porto are losing they'll still go through in Group G.
    12/11/2013 8:55:11 PM
  • 52 mins: Julian Drazler has given Schalke the lead against Basle, which as it stands will send them through alongside Chelsea in Group E.
    12/11/2013 8:56:32 PM
  • 54 mins: Rosicky fouls Behrami but despite the most vigorous of flag waving from the assistant referee, he escapes a yellow card for a rash challenge. The free-kick is initially cleared by Mertesacker, and then Giroud is nearly set free as he races onto a long ball, but Cabral just wins the race by half a yard.
    12/11/2013 8:58:34 PM
  • 82 mins: Insigne and then Mertens nearly latch onto a ball across goal from Armero that leaves the Arsenal defence bemused. Chelsea's goal has been overturned and, rather surprisingly, given to Demba Ba.
    12/11/2013 9:26:51 PM
  • 84 mins: Ramsey and Fernandez are involved in a small scuffle, and they pick up a yellow card for their efforts. It looks much like Merthens has completely dived off the ball, holding his face, before Fernandez comes rushing in to his defence.  
    12/11/2013 9:29:04 PM
  • Gonzalo Higuain shoots into the back of the net for Napoli

    12/11/2013 9:30:28 PM
  • 87 mins: Lewandowski is down in the box in Marseille, but there's no penalty given.  A goal there would change everything. meanwhile, Celtic have scored, as Samaras has scored a consolation.
    12/11/2013 9:32:03 PM
  • 88 mins: A huge goal! Borussia Dortmund have scored through Kevin Grosskruetz.
    12/11/2013 9:32:48 PM
  • 90 mins: As it stands, Arsenal will still top the group, with Dortmund joining them in the last 16 and Napoli crashing out into the Europa League.
    12/11/2013 9:33:50 PM
  • 90+1 mins: We'll have three minutes of added time at the Stadio San Paolo.
    12/11/2013 9:34:44 PM
  • 90+2 mins: Dzemaili tries to free Higuain but it's through to goalkeeper Szczesny. it looks, somehow, like Arsenal are going to hold on here. A minute to go...
    12/11/2013 9:36:02 PM
  • 90+3 mins: That goal in Marseille has taken the wind out of the Napoli wait, GOAL FOR NAPOLI!
    12/11/2013 9:36:54 PM
  • 90+3 mins: Insigne chips over for Jose Callejon, and is it still on?! No, as the referee blows the whistle straight from kick-off. Arsenal lose 2-0, but somehow, their 10-men have just held on to go through.
    12/11/2013 9:38:02 PM
  • Full-time: I can't stress how nervy that got for Arsenal in those last few minutes. From going through as comfortable group winners, they were suddenly facing elimination with their captain sent-off for a second yellow. Tome ran out for Napoli though, and Arsenal scrape through Group F in second place, after Dortmund secured a late 2-1 win in Marseille.
    12/11/2013 9:42:43 PM
  • Full-time: Much like Manchester City, Arsenal now face a significantly tougher last 16 draw than they would have had they topped the group. One of Real Madrid, PSG, Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid and Barcelona will await the Gunners in the next round, with the draw for the first knockout round scheduled to take place on Monday.
    12/11/2013 9:44:45 PM
  • Full-time: On the other hand, Dortmund have gone from staring the Europa League in the face to group winners, but the 2012-13 Champions League runners-up came within four minutes of being eliminated from this season's campaign at the first hurdle.
    12/11/2013 9:46:12 PM
  • Full-time: The Gunners will also be without Mikel Arteta for that first-leg of the last 16, which takes place in February. However, having exerted a lot of energy in the draw with Everton on Sunday, and another evening spent chasing the ball tonight, they now face Manchester City at lunchtime on Saturday. Are they slowly running out of gas? At least they'll be in the hat for the next round.
    12/11/2013 9:49:05 PM
  • Full-time: Elsewhere, Chelsea are through as Group E winners thanks to a 1-0 win over Steaua Bucharest courtesy of a deflected Demba Ba effort. They are joined by Schalke, who secured a 2-0 win against Basle.

    In Group G, Atletico Madrid finished their unbeaten campaign with a 2-0 win over Porto. that defeat means that the Portuguese go into the Europa League as they were unable to capitalise on Zenit St Petersburg's shock defeat to Austria Vienna - whose 4-1 victory is their first ever in the Champions League.

    Barcelona secured their place at the top of Group H with an emphatic 6-1 win over Celtic, with Neymar scoring his first hat-trick for the club. Despite being down to 10-men for more than a half, AC Milan held on to a 0-0 draw with Ajax which is enough to see them through alongside with Barcelona, with the Dutch club slipping into the Europa League.
    12/11/2013 9:54:47 PM
  • Neither team celebrated at the full-time whistle having let commanding positions slip - Arsenal miss out on top spot and Napoli go out of the Champions League

    12/11/2013 10:00:11 PM
  • Full-time: That's all from us tonight. Thanks for joining us from what was a frantic night of Champions League football. In the end, Arsenal make it to the last 16 for the 14th consecutive time, but they will be kicking themselves for missing out on top spot. Napoli, despite winning 2-0, crash out of the Champions League after finishing third. Be sure to read all the latest reaction and match report as it happens by clicking HERE. Thanks for joining me and I'll see you again soon.
    12/11/2013 10:03:57 PM
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