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UEFA Europa League

  • March 20, 2014
  • • 20:05
  • • Stadio San Paolo, Napoli
  • Referee: M. Atkinson
  • • Attendance: 54145

Porto win Aggregate 3 - 2

Napoli 2-2 Porto (Agg 2-3): Quaresma wondergoal sends Benitez's side crashing out

Napoli 2-2 Porto (Agg 2-3): Quaresma wondergoal sends Benitez's side crashing out

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The mercurial winger scored a sublime solo effort after Nabil Ghilas had equalised Goran Pandev's early effort in a match where the home side dominated early on

A sensational strike from Ricardo Quaresma helped Porto to a 2-2 draw with Napoli on Thursday and seal a 3-2 aggregate victory in the Europa League last 16.

The winger scored a stunning solo effort shortly after Nabil Ghilas had equalised on the night following Goran Pandev's well-taken early goal.

Napoli, who dominated the first hour of the encounter, spurned a number of chances to double their lead and were ultimately made to pay by the Portuguese giants, who advance into Friday's quarter-final draw, although they did manage a late consolation through Duvan Zapata.

Napoli head coach Rafael Benitez had described the tie as "like a final" in the build-up and his side rose to the occasion in the first half to lead thanks to Pandev's calm finish.

But Porto's quick turnaround in the second half ended the Spaniard's hopes of winning the Europa League for the second straight year, following his triumph with Chelsea in the 2013 final.

Napoli began the match at a quick tempo and created two chances in the opening 10 minutes. Dries Mertens was first denied by Fernando's fine last-ditch tackle, before Lorenzo Insigne stung the palms of Porto goalkeeper Fabiano.

Benitez's men continued to control play and full-back Henrique flashed a half-volley across the face of goal after quarter of an hour.

And Napoli's early pressure paid dividends in the 21st minute, as Benitez's men deservedly levelled the tie on aggregate.

Gonzalo Higuain held the ball up on the edge of the area before his neat throughball found Pandev's clever run into the box and the forward provided a delicate finish past Fabiano.

Porto sought an equaliser, but it took 33 minutes for the visitors to threaten Pepe Reina's goal, when Quaresma's corner was headed wide at the back post by Martinez.

The lively Insigne then threatened to put Napoli ahead as he cut inside Danilo from the left and flashed a shot wide of the near post.

The diminutive forward went close again early in the second half, but his downward header at the back post was expertly saved by Fabiano at point-blank range.

Porto had offered little going forward, yet nearly snatched a goal in the 57th minute when Quaresma's free kick was glanced narrowly wide by Carlos Eduardo.

Napoli then had two good chances to take the lead in the tie through Higuain and Mertens before their wastefulness was duly punished.

First, Ghilas – who had replaced Silvestre Varela - sprung the offside trap to receive Fernando's superb throughball and keep his composure to slot firmly past Reina.

And, with just under 15 minutes remaining, Quaresma weaved his way through the defence before unleashing into the roof of Reina's goal following some excellent build-up from Porto.

Napoli clinched a draw on the night in injury time when Jose Callejon's ball across the six-yard box was tapped home by Zapata, but it was too little, too late for the hosts.