Could do little about Inler’s strike, but he made good stops from Lavezzi and from team-mate Oriol to keep Villarreal in the game. He was one of a number of guilty parties though as Hamsik made it 2-0.
Got lucky when he appeared to pull down Maggio early on, then so nearly turned in Lavezzi’s cross as he stretched to clear, but was saved by Diego Lopez. Didn’t hit the byline often enough to ask many questions of Napoli’s defence.
Looked a little lucky not to concede a penalty when he blocked Zuniga’s shot with an arm, but then shifted the ball around with a great deal of calm. He was a little more flustered in his clashes with Campagnaro later on, and he ran out of legs in the closing stages too.
Got up well to get in a header from an early corner but couldn’t steer it on target, then received a booking for bringing down Lavezzi just inside his own half. Wasn’t particularly dominant on the ground despite his aerial command, and was replaced for the last 15 minutes.
Put in one particularly good challenge to deny Hamsik at the near post after Lavezzi had ghosted in behind Angel, but he couldn’t always provide the physical and technical dominance over the Napoli front three.
Forced an excellent save out of De Sanctis straight after the resumption after cutting inside onto his left foot, but it was a rare threat from the wide man as he disappointed for the most part.
Could have done more to trouble Napoli at times after being given time and space on the ball to cause a real nuisance of himself. Like so many of his team-mates, he faded in the second half and became a passenger as Napoli got on top.
Despite his advanced years and his recent history of injuries, he was a key man as Villarreal held a fair amount of possession and territory in the first hour, but he unsurprisingly ran out of legs as the game progressed and was replaced by Joselu.
J. de Guzmán
Picked up an early yellow card for a dumb challenge, but then swung in a couple of very dangerous corners as Villarreal looked to upset the form book. He then had a great chance to make it 1-0, but stumbled as he got in behind after a great passing move.
The striker was denied early on by an excellent save by Morgan De Sanctis, then had a later effort disallowed for offside. He was Villarreal’s biggest danger for much of the game, though he suffered from a lack of support after Nilmar was replaced.
Showed a lack of movement and sharpness following his recent spell on the sidelines, and was replaced just seconds before Napoli grabbed the vital first goal.
M. De Sanctis
A poor kick put his defence under pressure in the opening minutes, but his save from Marco Ruben kept his side level and he made another great stop from Gonzalo Rodriguez late on.
Led the back line well as Villarreal were thwarted on the few occasions they got forward, though his cover play was not as good as usual.
Did a good job of adding some structure to the right side of the defence and getting forward to help out as Napoli looked for a crucial opening.
His vital interception on Ruben snuffed out a clear opportunity for Villarreal as the home side began to take advantage of Napoli’s panic in the early moments of the second half, and his canny defensive style helped see the Italians through.
Busy and bustling throughout, he helped to keep his side’s passing ticking over when they might otherwise have panicked. His form has been one of the main reasons why Napoli have progressed.
Somehow missed a glorious early opportunity when no Villarreal defender backed off to defend Lavezzi’s chipped cross, but continued to provide an outlet down the left as the Italians stretched Villarreal in order to force enough holes to get the job done.
Played a very poor pass on the overlap moments before opening the scoring and it was symptomatic of his lack of crispness to that point, but his left-foot strike which beat Diego Lopez was right out of the top drawer. Thereafter he seemed much more comfortable, and Napoli were barely troubled in the midfield segment.
His shot just wide shortly before the interval was the most meaningful effort by a Napoli player after Zuniga’s early chance, and then it was the Slovakian who made qualification safe by slotting in the second after Lavezzi’s corner was missed by two defenders at the near post.
Did well to get onto Hamsik’s ball over the top, but the touch with his chest was just too heavy, allowing Diego Lopez to recover. However, he continued to charge up and down the line as ever, and was one of the main threats to a largely unadventurous Villarreal side.
His cross for Zuniga in the opening minutes should have resulted in Napoli’s nerves being eased immediately, but it was the Argentine who always looked likely to be the key, as he set up Hamsik for one chance when Musacchio covered well, then sent in the corner from which the Slovakian tied up the points.
Not his usually lively self at the head of the play, but his very presence caused Villarreal some problems and his movement eventually helped to pull attention away from the run of Inler as Napoli finally grabbed a lead.
- 1 César
- 14 Mario Gaspar
- 5 Marchena
A late replacement for Cristian Zapata, he nearly pulled one back for his side.
- 26 Marcos Gullón
Replaced Nilmar seconds before Napoli took the lead, but couldn’t really supply enough of a presence as his side looked to hit back.
Came on for Marcos Senna for the final 17 minutes.