Arsenal dump out Ancelotti’s Napoli to reach Europa League semis

Napoli’s Italian goalkeeper Alex Meret (Rear L) fails to stop a free-kick by Arsenal’s French striker Alexandre Lacazette (R) during the UEFA Europa League quarter-final second leg football match Napoli vs Arsenal on April 18, 2019 at the San Paolo stadium in Naples. Andreas SOLARO / AFP


Alexandre Lacazette scored the only goal as Arsenal dispatched Napoli 1-0 on Thursday to advance to the Europa League semi-finals 3-0 on aggregate.

Lacazette’s stunning 36th-minute free-kick put the English club through to a final four meeting with Spanish side Valencia.

The exit of Carlo Ancelotti’s Napoli means no Italian clubs are left in European competition this season.

Unai Emery’s side were never troubled by the Italians despite the heated atmosphere in the Stadio San Paolo, even after losing departing midfielder Aaron Ramsey to a hamstring injury after half an hour.

Napoli had turned up the pressure early with a chance to break through after 17 minutes with Kalidou Koulibaly going on the counter-attack, racing up the pitch to cross to Jose Callejon but Petr Cech closed down the Spaniard’s weak effort.Ramsey limped off after 33 minutes with Henrikh Mkhitaryan coming on for the Welsh international.

The Armenian promptly set up Lacazette who was awarded a free-kick after being brought down by Piotr Zielinski. Lacazette whipped the ball in from 25 metres past a motionless Alex Meret in the Napoli goal.

Emery now faces a reunion with former club Valencia, 5-1 aggregate winners over fellow Spaniards Villarreal, as he targets a fourth Europa League title.The final will be in Baku on May 29.

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