Napoli have recently been bereft of the services of several first-team players due to injury or illness, but they have still managed to score in each of their last nine games. Their attacking threat was no more apparent than in the fourth minute when Andrea Petagna’s blocked shot skewed into the feet of Adam Ounas, who arrowed a finish past Kasper Schmeichel.
‘Azzurri’ captain Piotr Zieliński, who has three goals in his last five appearances, was beginning to turn the screw, and it was his ball that started the move for Napoli’s second on 24 minutes. Petagna was sent through and unselfishly laid it to Elif Elmas, who tapped into an empty net. The ‘Foxes’ have never won consecutive away games in European competition, but just three minutes later they had a lifeline when Napoli failed to clear a James Maddison free-kick, which fell to Jonny Evans to power in the reply.
Napoli have never failed to qualify from a Europa League group, but their 100% record was under serious threat when Leicester levelled up the tie on 33 minutes. Once again, a Maddison free-kick was only half-cleared, and academy graduate Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall struck a pinpoint effort inside the post from 20 yards out.
The pendulum swung yet again seven minutes into the second half when Giovanni Di Lorenzo’s cross from the right found Elmas, whose silky first touch set him up for an easy finish to make it 3-2 and put Luciano Spalletti’s side back in control. Moments later Di Lorenzo was at the heart of the action again when he inexplicably cleared a ball across his own box but Maddison couldn’t convert, instead hitting the post when he really should have done better.
Leicester huffed and puffed, but Maddison’s miss was their only real clear-cut chance for an equaliser as Brendan Rodgers failed to qualify for the Europa League knockout stages for the first time in his career.