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
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...
  • Full-time: Napoli 2 (Higuain 73', Callejon 90+3) Arsenal 0
    • Arsenal secure a place in the last 16 but finish second in Group F, meaning they will face one of Real Madrid, PSG, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid or Bayern Munich.
    • Higuain appeared to put Napoli through alongside Arsenal, but Callejon's late goal sees the Italian's fall one goal short of qualification.
    • Borussia Dortmund beat Marseille 2-1 with a late goal from Kevin Grosskruetz, meaning they go through as group winners on goals scored compared to Arsenal.
    • Chelsea 1 (Ba 11') Steaua Bucharest 0; Barcelona 6 (Pique 7', Pedro 40', Neymar 45', 48, 58', Tello 72') Celtic 0; Dortmund 2 (Lewandowski 4' Grosskreutz 86) Marseille 1 (Diawara 14')
    12/11/2013 9:41:07 PM
  • 32 mins: Behrami brings down Ozil on the halfway line, but again Arsenal are happy to just keep the ball. 
    12/11/2013 8:20:01 PM
  • 33 mins: Payet has been sent-off for Marseille in the other game in Group F, having been shown a second yellow card for diving - and a blatant one at that. Dortmund's job seeming to have be made easier, Napoli's a little harder.
    12/11/2013 8:21:17 PM
  • 35 mins: Zenit have taken the lead against Austria Vienna thanks to a goal from forward Kerzhakov.
    12/11/2013 8:22:28 PM
  • 36 mins: Mertens is shown a yellow card for a high foot on Rosicky, and Kassai signals it's for a number of fouls - though I think he means Behrami. Either way, it's the Belgian who picks up the first booking of the night. Atletico have doubled their lead against Porto thanks to Deigo Costa.
    12/11/2013 8:24:30 PM
  • 38 mins: Maggio breaks down the right after Higuain does brilliantly to get the ball down the line. Szczesny comes rushing out to his left, but Maggio beats him to the ball and attempts to loft the ball over the goalkeeper. The ball floats over the net though and Arsenal breathe a sigh of relief.
    12/11/2013 8:26:05 PM
  • 39 mins: A second goal for Barcelona though forward Pedro and that looks to be an early nail in the coffin for Celtic.
    12/11/2013 8:27:10 PM
  • 12/11/2013 8:28:55 PM
  • 41 mins: That's very calm defending from Koscielny, who sweeps across his goal to clear the ball, before chipping it over Maggio and launching a counter attack. Dzemaili brings him down and that'll be another yellow card.
    12/11/2013 8:29:50 PM
  • 43 mins: Hosiner has equalised for Austria Vienna against Zenit.
    12/11/2013 8:30:38 PM
  • 44 mins: Huge error from Szczesny. He tries to chip a pass back from Gibbs over the head of Higuain, but instead kicks it straight to the Argentinian's head. His first time effort goes just wide, and the Polish stopper breathes once again. Very silly though, and he shouldn't have tried to be so smart.
    12/11/2013 8:32:07 PM
  • 45 mins: Curtains for Celtic, as Neymar has made the score 3-0 at the Nou Camp and it's not even half-time. No injury time here at the Stadio San Paolo and that's half-time. So far, so good for the Gunners, but this one's far from over.
    12/11/2013 8:33:19 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
  • 55 mins: Ozil takes the ball into the Napoli half, and feeds Gibbs as he ploughs down the left. He returns the pass immediately for Ozil, who feeds Cazorla in the box. His first time shot though is mishit, and Napoli are now on the break. The gunners are doing their best to get back into position but Napoli have them shaken, but give away possession with a needless offside from a throw-in return pass. Lorenzo Insigne, the hometown favourite, comes on for Goran Pandev.
    12/11/2013 9:01:10 PM
  • 58 mins: Insigne has an immediate impact, letting the ball slip through for Armero. But the left-back panics when through on goal and shoots straight at Szczesny, who holds on. the best chance of the game by a country mile. Meanwhile, it's 5-0 to Barcelona and it's a hat-trick for Nweymar.
    12/11/2013 9:02:42 PM
  • 60 mins: Napoli are certainly on the up here, with Arsenal simply unable to cope at the moment with the introduction of Insigne. The fans roar when Mertesacker is forced to put the ball out under pressure - can they lift their side? Joel Matip has added a second for Schalke and that should see them home against 10-man Basle.
    12/11/2013 9:04:55 PM
  • 62 mins: Another error from Szczesny, who puts his goal kick straight out. Arteta gives the ball away on halfway, and callejon is off bearing down on goal. He cuts inside Szczesny, before switching outside again and lashing a shot across goal, but crucially wide of the far post. These are tense times for the Gunners, and teh crowd has suddenly come to life.
    12/11/2013 9:06:53 PM
  • 63 mins: A yellow card for Arteta after he catches Behrami late.
    12/11/2013 9:07:26 PM
  • Following the left-backs rather poor effort on goal...

    12/11/2013 9:07:54 PM
  • Both teams join together to pay tribute to Nelson Mandela

    12/11/2013 9:09:01 PM
  • 67 mins: Giroud tries to spring the offside trap, but he mistimes it and the flag goes up. He then messes around with the ball, and is shown a yellow card for his time wasting antics. Aaron Ramsey will be Arsenal's first substitution, as he comes on for Santi Cazorla.
    12/11/2013 9:11:30 PM
  • 68 mins: Jenkinson loses out on a 50-50 challenge with Insigne, and he then allows the attacking midfielder to break away. he looks up and tries to curl a shot away from Szczesny, but the goalkeeper dives to his right to comfortably take he ball.
    12/11/2013 9:12:44 PM
  • 69 mins: Another chance for Higuain, as the ball somehow jinks through the Arsenal defence to the onrushing striker. He's at an angle on the right though, and blazes his shot high and wide. Can Arsenal withstand this onslaught?
    12/11/2013 9:14:04 PM
  • 70 mins: Giroud brings down Dzemaili, and he needs to be careful having picked up that yellow card. Jenkinson wins then gives away a free kick, and Merthens delivery is punched clear by Szczesny. It's a staggering 6-0 to Barcelona after Tello continues the rout.
    12/11/2013 9:15:53 PM
  • 73 mins: Ramsey, Ozil and Gibbs are combining nicely on the left, with the Welshman trying to give Giroud a chance at goal. He can't work it onto his right foot though, and Cabral saves.
    12/11/2013 9:17:10 PM
  • 73 mins: GOAL FOR NAPOLI!
    12/11/2013 9:17:22 PM
  • 73 mins: It's the man Wenger tried to sign Gonzalo Higuain, and it's a lovely finish from the Argentinian. Armero delivers from the left into the striker, who lays it back to Callejon. He returns the pass, and Higuain spins on the spot as he hits a left-footed shot to Szczesny's left and into the back of the net. Nacho Monreal comes on for Tomas Rosicky, but as it stands Arsenal will still top the group, with Napoli going through with them.
    12/11/2013 9:19:49 PM
  • 76 mins: RED CARD FOR MIKEL ARTETEA!
    12/11/2013 9:20:00 PM
  • 76 mins: Arteta picks up a second yellow and he's off! Is this Arsenal's campaign crumbling before them? He brings down Callejon from behind in the Napli half and although it's not a bad challenge, it's absolutely needless. They're definitely on the ropes here, but Napoli need to score two more goals in order for the Gunners to go out.
    12/11/2013 9:21:42 PM
  • 79 mins: In typical Arsenal fashion, their best form of defence is to attack, with Ramsey leading the charge. but they're soon forced to play the ball back, and eventually all the way back to Szczesny, who gives away possession with a clearance up-field. There's a confidence in the Napoli support now that was missing in the first half.
    12/11/2013 9:24:21 PM
  • 80 mins: 10 minutes to go. can Arsenal hold on? Will Dortmund get another goal to force Napoli to go searching for more? So many questions, such little time.
    12/11/2013 9:25:08 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 supporters...no 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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