Napoli outclass Wolfsburg in Europa League

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Wolfsburg were dealt their largest ever defeat in Europe after a 4-1 demolition by Napoli in their Europa League quarter-final first leg tie at the Volkswagen Arena.

Gonzalo Higuain scored a controversial goal, Marek Hamsik starred with two goals and Manolo Gabbiadini rounded off Wolfsburg's misery with a late strike. Wolfsburg pulled one back through substitute Nicklas Bendtner but their embarrassing display was already complete.

Wolfsburg had a half chance within two-minutes as Daniel Caliguiri whipped a ball into Bas Dost in the box, but Mariano Adujar came out and claimed it smartly.

Wolfsburg continued their early pressure when they earned a free kick in the attacking half after David Lopez was adjudged to have handled the ball. Ricardo Rodriguez opted to take it but put his shot safely wide of Andujar's goal from 25-yards.

Napoli scored controversially in the 15th-minute, when Dries Mertens crossed the ball from wide on the left, over the Wolfsburg defence to Higuain, who chested it down and put the ball past Diego Benaglio and earn his side a crucial away goal. On the replay however, it was evident that the Argentine striker had used his arm to control the ball initially.

Napoli overpower Wolfsburg

Napoli captain, Marek Hamsik, made it two nil to the away side just eight-minutes later as Higuain this time turned provider, threading a through-ball between Wolfsburg's centre-backs leaving Hamsik to simply slot the ball past the motionless Benaglio.

Wolfsburg had a very good opportunity to get a goal back soon after when Naldo put a header narrowly over the crossbar following a corner, which Andre Schurrle had done well to earn.

Hamsik almost got another as Higuain chased back to rob the ball off Joshua Guilavogui in the midfield and launch a Napoli attack. The ball found it's way to Hamsik whose shot was well saved by Benaglio.

Wolfsburg won many free kicks throughout the first half but couldn't make an impact with any of them, either hitting them too short with de Bruyne or too high and long with Rodriguez.

The first half ended with Napoli in the ascendancy and Wolfsburg desperately hoping they could get a few goals for themselves in the second period.

Jose Callejon put Higuain through on goal soon after the break, but the Napoli man couldn't score his second of the night as Benaglio made a brilliant save to keep his side in the tie.

Callejon showed his confidence with an audacious striker from 35-yards on the right, but it dropped harmlessly wide of the goal.

Wolfsburg knew they needed to change their system somehow and so brought Dost off, who had been very quiet all game, and put Nicklas Bendtner on.

Napoli then made their first substitution of the night, putting on Lorenzo Insigne in place of the lively Mertens.

Wolfsburg made another change, with Ivan Perisic replacing Andre Schurrle.

Job done for Napoli

Napoli scored their third of the night seconds later on 64-minutes after disastrous defending by Wolfsburg. Callejon made a good run down the left hand side of Wolfsburg's box and crossed into Marek Hamsik who easily tapped in his second goal with the German side's defence helpless.

Guilavogui almost pulled back the deficit to two goals as de Bruyne found him in the Napoli 18-yard box and his superb shot was saved by a fantastic diving save from Andujar.

Seconds later Guilavogui was replaced by Maximilian Arnold.

Now three nil up and Napoli made their second change. Two-goal man Marek Hamsik being replaced by Manolo Gabbiadini.

Wolfsburg's horrible night got even worse on 77-minutes when substitute Gabbiadini scored with his first touch just seconds after coming on, heading the ball in from close range from Insigne's cross.

It was nearly five nil moments later when Callejon's cross was just too high for Insigne to get any contact on.

Wolfsburg got a goal back with 10-minutes of normal time left with their first meaningful attack of the second half, when Perisic got to the Napoli by-line and cut the ball back to Bendtner who passed the ball into the net from five-yards.

Napoli, safe in the knowledge the win was theirs, made their final change of the evening, taking off scorer Higuain and putting on Henrique.

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Gonzalo Higuain
Europa League

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