Napoli And Salzburg Battle To UCL Draw

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Napoli missed the opportunity to secure their place in the Champions League knockout stages as they were held to a frustrating 1-1 draw by Salzburg at the San Paolo on Tuesday.

Liverpool's win over Genk in the other Group E game meant Carlo Ancelotti's side could have qualified for the last 16 with two pool games to spare with victory, but it was not to be against Jesse Marsch's spirited opponents.

 

Erling Haaland gave the visitors an early lead from the penalty spot, his seventh goal in four games making him the highest-scoring teenager in a single Champions League campaign.

Hirving Lozano pulled the hosts level shortly before half-time but, despite carving out a number of excellent opportunities to score a winner, Napoli were ultimately frustrated in their efforts to secure an early progression to the next stage.

 

Ancelotti's men remain well placed to advance, though, as Salzburg's hopes are now hanging by a thread despite an entertaining campaign.

Carlos Miguel Coronel made a wonderful reaction save to keep out Lorenzo Insigne's deflected effort early on, while an unmarked Jerome Onguene inexplicably headed wide from eight yards at the other end.

Haaland then handed the visitors the lead after 11 minutes, stroking home from the spot after Kalidou Koulibaly had brought down Hwang Hee-chan inside the area.

The first half continued at a frantic pace and Jose Callejon crashed against the post before Lozano's whipped effort was kept out by Coronel.

Napoli's pressure finally told a minute before the interval when Lozano cut in from the left and fired a low drive past the Salzburg goalkeeper.

The second half started at a more sedate pace, with Salzburg finding a way to stem the Napoli tide.

Lozano thundered narrowly over shortly before the hour mark, while Dries Mertens was denied by a low save from Coronel.

The Salzburg stopper then almost inadvertently handed Napoli all three points as Insigne's deep cross bounced back off the post and hit him before going out for a corner, yet the spoils were ultimately shared.
 

What does it mean? Liverpool leapfrog Partenopei

Napoli's failure to make their chances count means they have surrendered top spot in the group to Liverpool. They still hold a four-point advantage over third-placed Salzburg, but Ancelotti will be hugely frustrated that his side were unable to book their spot in the last 16, denying him the opportunity to rest players in the clash with Jurgen Klopp's side later this month.

Haaland's dream start continues

The Salzburg youngster has been electric in the Champions League so far this season and once again showed a maturity that belies his age, coolly slotting home an early penalty that ensured his side return to Austria with an impressive point.

Koulibaly recklessness costs his side

Koulibaly is one of Europe's best and most experienced defenders. Quite why he decided to fly in so rashly on Hwang remains a mystery.

What's next?

Napoli return to Serie A action on Saturday with a home game against Genoa, while Salzburg travel to Wolfsberger in the Austrian Bundesliga.