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UEFA Champions League
August 27, 2014
• San Mamés Barria, Bilbao
Referee: C. Çakιr
• Attendance: 49017
Aduriz 61', 69'
Athletic Club win Aggregate 4 - 2
M. Hamšík 47'
A brilliant encounter, worthy of Europe's grandest stage. Hamsik handed Napoli the lead early in the second half but two from Aduriz and one from Ibai have sent the Basques through, and Rafa Benitez's side into the Europa League. Thanks for joining me!
90' + 4'
And that's it! Athletic Bilbao are into the Champions League group stages - Napoli are out!
90' + 3'
Jorginho launches one for Zapata, who wins a throw-in. Dying seconds here.
90' + 1'
Mikel Rico draws another foul from Gargano, and Napoli's Champions League hopes are just about gone.
A late free kick in dangerous territory for Athletic, but Rafael catches comfortably. Is there time for one last twist?
Clever pass from Iturraspe but Unai Lopez is penalised for a foul on Albiol. Iturraspe then feeds Ibai, who teases Maggio and sends the ball backwards. Good possession play.
A late booking for Gargano for bringing down Mikel Rico. Athletic win a throw down the right wing.
Yellow Card W. Gargano
Jorginho launches a cross towards Zapata but it's cleared by Laporte. The ball is fired left and out of play, and Athletic can take their time with a throw.
Muniain departs to chants of 'Iker' and will be replaced by Mikel San Jose. Athletic running down the clock now.
Muniain tries to race clear of Koulibaly, who promptly grabs him back. Free kick, and the noise in the San Mames grows a little more.
Lovely skill from Iturraspe allows him to free Unai out on the left but his cross is claimed by Rafael.
ADURIZ! Oh my word, what a miss! Muniain is the architect, breaking free in the box and firing across goal where Aduriz can only side-foot over the bar with the goal gaping! Athletic should be out of sight by now.
Lopez! Good save. Rasping drive from 25 yards from the substitute is well parried by Raffael.
Excellent take from Iraizoz from the corner. Athletic now in possession.
Zapata - almost! Jorginho chests the ball on and the substitute skips past two challenges before Iturraspe slides in. Another corner...
Zapata is on for Napoli as the Italians go for broke - they need two in 13 minutes. Zapata instantly wins a corner...
Aduriz breaks forward again but Albiol is there to clear. Napoli press forward and Callejon tries his luck from the egde of the area, but fires wide.
Assist Unai López
Goal Ibai Gómez
GOOOOAAAAAAALLLL! The San Mames is rocking now! Lovely passing between Muniain and Lopez, who chips the ball towards Aduriz - he leaves the ball for the on-rushing Ibai, who slots home with aplomb!
Ibai tries to get clear down the left but Jorginho recovers with a good tackle. The San Mames has descended into a nervy rumble at present.
Iturraspe wins a free kick near halfway for Athletic. Time for a change for the home side, as Unai Lopez replaces Susaeta.
Rafa takes instant action - Insigne is on for Hamsik. Napoli now up against it once again.
Assist Aymeric Laporte
Goal Aritz Aduriz Zubeldia
GOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALLL!! Athletic take the lead - and what a shocker for Rafael! The ball bounces beyond the defence, Rafael races out to clear and gets in a muddle with Albiol, allowing Aduriz the easiest of finishes!
Both sides are, understandably, beginning to look a little more cagey as we close in on 'next goal wins' territory.
De Marcos tries an ambitious pass to Ibai Gomez which is cut out by Albiol. Mikel Rico then concedes a free kick on halfway. Napoli keeping the ball at the back now.
Maggio sticks out a foot and just pokes it away from Susaeta, and contrives to win a goal kick. Napoli looking just a little shaken again.
Well well, what a game we have now! 1-1 on the night, 2-2 on aggregate - it's all to play for!
Goal Aritz Aduriz Zubeldia
GOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAL! We're level at the San Mames! The corner drops to Aduriz at the far post, who takes a touch and fires low past Rafael. Game on!
A devilish cross from De Marcos is nodded behind by Britos - Athletic have a corner.
The wind has rather gone out of Athletic's sails this half. Now they are the ones guilty of conceding possession with poor long balls. Napoli are, at present, reasonably comfortable.
Brilliant from Benat to keep the ball in play but Koulibaly once again blocks his path. The throw comes to nothing and Napoli have a goal kick. Time for Athletic to make a change, and it's Benat off, Ibai Gomez on.
Miguel Angel Britos
First change for Napoli - Miguel Britos is on for Faouzi Ghoulam.
Iturraspe almost gets clear in the Napoli area but Koulibaly - again - sticks out a foot to stop the ball. Napoli break and Higuain feeds Hamsik but he dawdles for too long, and it's cleared.
Brilliant one-touch passing from Napoli sends Callejon free but Iraizoz hurtles off his line to sweep clear. Almost a stunning counterattack.
Ghoulam and Higuain combine down the left but the full-back just can't keep it in play. Amazing what a goal will do, though - Napoli look settled for the first time all evening.
"Mas Iturraspe, mas Iturraspe!" calls the Spanish commentator alongside me. Athletic certainly need him now. Higuain holds the ball up well and wins a free kick on halfway, adding to the growing frustration inside the San Mames.
Balenziaga - good save! Lovely crisp build-up from Athletic, Iturraspe feeds the left-back out wide and his rasping shot is tipped over by Rafael.
Susaeta tries to get clear down the right but Koulibaly covers yet again and plays the ball off the forward to win a goal kick.
Well then - now we have a game on. Napoli have snatched the advantage in the tie and lead 2-1. It's time to see what this Athletic side are really made of...
Goal Marek Hamsik
GOAAAAAAAAAAAAL!! Would you believe it - Napoli have the lead! Straight from kick off, they press forward, Jorginho's ball is headed away and it's Marek Hamsik who arrows the ball into the bottom corner!
Here we go!
The teams are back in the tunnel - the second half is on the way!
So it's 0-0 at the break, meaning it remains advantage Athletic with 45 left to play. The pattern of the half would make you think it was the home side who had to score, such has been their approach; Napoli, meanwhile, are lucky to be level. Big improvement needed from the Italians after the break - join me for the action!
It's a poor one - easy for Mikel Rico to head clear. Jorginho and Hamsik try to work some space but Mikel Rico is again in the way. And that is that for the half!
Chance for Napoli late in the half - a free kick wide on their left, which Mertens stands over.
Yellow Card Gonzalo Higuaín
Another corner which Napoli struggle to clear, but ultimately win a free kick. Higuain then goes into the book for sending a few choice words the referee's way.
Free kick this time for Napoli as Gargano is tripped. Mertens loses out to Mikel Rico, though, and Albiol is forced to stop Benat, who accidentally stands on the defender's arm. Nothing deliberate, but a sore one.
Koulibaly gets to the cross ahead of Aduriz and concedes a corner, which is blocked behind for another.
Yellow Card Faouzi Ghoulam
Rash from Ghoulam, who sticks out a leg and brings down Aduriz. He gets a booking and Athletic have a decent position for a free kick, right of the box.
Aduriz concedes a free kick for jumping unfairly with Albiol, but Athletic again press Napoli into conceding possession. A poor pass from Mikel Rico hands it right back, however.
Benat! Not too far away. Good control from the high ball allows him a half-volley from 25 yards which misses the crossbar by a few feet.
Napoli have settled a little since those missed chances but Athletic continue to dictate the pace. De Marcos is enjoying so much space behind Ghoulam - Rafa Benitez must be a little concerned.
CRASH! Gargano jumps with Benat and Higuain puts the ball out for the midfielder to get his bruised head checked over. The ball is back with Napoli, but Albiol can only find touch.
Brilliant dummy from Susaeta creates space for a cross which Albiol heads away. Athletic continue to press but Muniain is eventually penalised.
Yellow Card Susaeta
Free kick taken short to Mertens, whose deflected shot sails behind for a corner - a corner taken poorly. Rafael back with the ball.
Super hold-up play from Higuain, who switches towards Ghoulam. His run is eventually halted by a lunge from Susaeta, who becomes the first player in the book for the night.
Napoli immediately launch an attack and Maggio bursts into the box only to be denied by Laporte. Muniain then wrestles with Hamsik for the ball and the Napoli skipper is warned after he lands a little late kick on the winger.
WHAT A MISS! The corner is headed straight to Muniain on the right of the box, his cross finds Laporte unmarked at the back post, the goal at his mercy, but he fires over the top!
Another chance for Athletic! De Marcos is given the freedom of the right flank and fires a cross at the near post. Rafael parries and Koulibaly clears for a corner.
Koulibaly with another good header from a Balenziaga cross. He's been Napoli's best player so far. Athletic just easing the pace a little, keeping the ball near halfway before winning a throw off Mertens.
GURPEGI!! What a chance! The corner is planted squarely on his head as he arrives unmarked in the six-yard box but he heads wide of the near post! Huge let-off for Napoli.
A towering header from Koulibaly hands Athletic a rather lucky free kick. Susaeta is sent down the right but Koulibaly atones with a good block. Corner kick...
Balenziaga's cross is deflected for a throw, and he almost gets clear from Aduriz's pass, but it runs behind for a goal kick. Athletic on top at the moment.
It's taken short to Balenziaga, who chips the ball towards the box and causes all kinds of mayhem before De Marcos hits a half volley well wide.
A rather meaty challenge from Gargano yields a free kick for the home side, plumb centre, 45 yards from goal.
Susaeta and Aduriz almost combine on the edge of the area but Koulibaly sticks out a vital foot to intercept. The ball is back with Athletic on half-way.
Higuain! Super half-volley from the striker which flashes wide of the post - and all after a hairy moment for Iraizoz, who almost handled outside the area.
Quarter of an hour gone, and it's already a battle out there. Both sides know just how important a victory tonight could be for the entire season - not to mention the final days of the transfer window - and are up for the fight.
Gurpegi grabs a handful of Gargano's shirt and Napoli win a free kick, allowing them to kill the tempo just a little. The ball is launched long but sails out for a goal kick.
De Marcos rides the challenge of Mertens and feeds Aduriz, who skips clear of Koulibaly but is stopped by Albiol, who got just enough of the ball.
Aduriz! - no, offside! Fantastic pressing from the home side allows Susaeta time to turn and feed the striker but he was the length of a toe offside. Raffael wasn't to know, however - and he saved well.
Muniain again attempts to work his way free but Maggio covers well and wins a goal-kick. Mertens then picks out Higuian with a clever chip but the Argentine is a fraction offside. Better from Napoli.
Callejon! Half a chance for Napoli there. Lovely build-up down the left allows Hamsik space to pull back a cross, and Callejon meets it 20 yards out but lashes well over the bar.
Susaeta finds space and tries an ambitious shot which is deflected for a throw-in. Again, Athletic win the ball back quickly - until Balenziaga allows it to run out of play.
Safe to say there are a few nerves around. Athletic have launched three or four long balls to little avail so far, but Napoli are surrendering possession rather promptly - one such turnover almost allows Muniain a run at the area but Albiol is across well.
A combative start in Bilbao. The hosts have done their best to press Napoli back early on but the Italians are holding firm and looking compact.
Balenziaga tries to work some space down the left but runs out of pitch. The ball is back with Iraizoz, who launches long and Mikel Rico earns a throw-in on the right.
Almost an early break for Callejon as he chases Hamsik's long pass but Iraizoz sweeps up.
And we're off! Athletic get us underway...
Could be a key night for Iturraspe at the heart of Athletic's midfield. Linked with Bayern Munich in recent days, it would be fitting if he were the man to lead his side into the competition proper and earn the chance to face Europe's biggest...
The teams are emerging from the tunnel - we're just a few moments from kick-off. And the stadium, as expected, is bouncing.
Napoli, meanwhile, have a point to prove. Gonzalo Higuain scored a vital goal last week but was furious to end up with only a draw, while Marek Hamsik was heavily scrutinised for another below-par showing. Both are vital to the Italians' hopes tonight, as they enter the cacophony of the San Mames knowing they have to score.
Athletic were beaten 1-0 by Malaga at the weekend in a controversial opening La Liga encounter, with Iraizoz scoring a quite amazing injury-time header only to see it disallowed for... well, nobody quite seems to know. The San Mames crowd will be looking for vengeance of sorts tonight.
NAPOLI: Rafael; Maggio, Albiol, Koulibaly, Ghoulam; Jorginho, Gargano; Mertens, Hamsik, Callejon; Higuain.
ATHLETIC: Iraizoz, De Marcos, Gurpegi, Laporte, Balenziaga, Iturraspe, Rico, Benat, Susaeta, Aduriz, Muniain.
First up, the team news for tonight, starting with the hosts...
Greetings one and all - welcome to Goal's LIVE! coverage of the Champions League playoff second leg between Athletic Bilbao and Napoli. Two sides with designs on going beyond the group stage in the tournament proper this season must fight for the right to be in tomorrow's draw, and after a 1-1 draw in Italy, it's superbly poised for tonight...
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