Monday 26 September 2016

Benitez misery as Dnipro make history to book place in final

Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk 1-0 Napoli

Published 15/05/2015 | 02:30

Napoli's Gonzalo Higuain (R) and Marek Hamsik react after Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk's Yevhen Seleznyov scored a goal during the Europa League semi-final second leg soccer match at the Olympic stadium in Kiev, Ukraine, May 14, 2015. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich
Napoli's Gonzalo Higuain (R) and Marek Hamsik react after Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk's Yevhen Seleznyov scored a goal during the Europa League semi-final second leg soccer match at the Olympic stadium in Kiev, Ukraine, May 14, 2015. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich
FC Dnipro's Artem Fedetskiy vies with Napoli's Manolo Gabbiadini
A security attempts to stop a supporter of Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk who ran onto the pitch to celebrate the victory over Napoli in the Europa League semi-final

Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk reached their first European final when Yevhen Seleznyov’s header gave them a 1-0 win over Napoli in the second leg of their semi-final.

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The Ukrainians, backed by a fervent sell-out crowd at Kiev’s Olympic stadium, completed a 2-1 aggregate win after drawing 1-1 in last week’s first leg, when Seleznyov was also on target.

They will face holders Sevilla in the May 27 final in Warsaw after the Spaniards beat Fiorentina 2-0 away to wrap up a 5-0 aggregate triumph, with goals from Carlos Bacca and Daniel Carrico.

Dnipro goalkeeper Denys Boyko, who denied Gonzalo Higuain four times in Italy, foiled the Argentinian striker twice in the first half to keep the sides level at half-time.

Seleznyov struck just before the hour and the hosts, unable to play in their home stadium because of Dnipropetrovsk’s proximity to the conflict in eastern Ukraine, defended with their customary tenacity to see out the game.

Boyko has been a key figure throughout Dnipro’s campaign, which began in the Champions League third qualifying round on July 30.

Rafa Benitez’s Napoli began well and Gokhan Inler sent Higuain clear but the forward’s shot was too near Boyko. Higuain’s frustration continued when he met Faouzi Ghoulam’s cross with a glancing header which was heading for the far corner until Boyko tipped it away.

Dnipro, playing their 18th European match of the season, broke through in the 58th minute when Yevhen Konoplyanka floated over a cross from the left and Seleznyov, despite grappling with Miguel Britos, managed to head the ball into the net.

Irish Independent

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