Elif Elmas double sends Napoli through to play-off as Leicester City drop into Europa Conference League
Europa League Group C, Stadio Diego Armando Maradona – Napoli 3 (Ounas 4’, Elmas 24’, 53’) Leicester City 2 (Evans 27’, Dewsbury-Hall 33’)
NAPLES, ITALY - DECEMBER 09: Eljif Elmas of SSC Napoli (obscured) celebrates with teammates after scoring their team's third goal during the UEFA Europa League group C match between SSC Napoli and Leicester City at Stadio Diego Armando Maradona on Decembe
Brendan Rodgers side reduced the arrears in the 27th minute when Jonny Evans lashed his effort home and six-minutes later academy graduate Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall brilliantly volleyed home the leveller from the edge of the box.
The Foxes were caught napping early in the second half when Elmas notched his second of the evening to put Luciano Spalletti's men back in front.
Despite the introduction of Patson Daka, Leicester were unable to find an equaliser and Napoli held on for a deserved win to ensure qualification for the round of 16 in March whilst Brendan Rodgers side will contest the Europa Conference as a result of their third place finish in the group.
Talking Point – Foxes' stuttering season continues
If there was a match to sum up Leicester City's season then this was it. Dangerous in attack, defensively naïve and conceding goals far too easily.
The same can be said of their Premier League form and it is an issue that Brendan Rodgers is struggling to find a solution for.
Leicester's Europa League group was a winnable one but with just one home win during the campaign, the Foxes have paid the price and now face a Europa Conference League play-off in February.
Eljif Elmas esulta dopo il gol in Napoli-Leicester - Europa League 2021-22
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Whilst the season is far from over, Leicester must regroup and plug the holes in their leaky defence if they are going to avoid the season petering out.
A positive for Rodgers is that Leicester are creating a host of chances and he will hope that his side can capitalise on that and start to be more clinical in front of goal.
Man of the Match: Piotr Zielinski (Napoli)
The Polish midfielder was handed the armband for the night and produced a majestic display to help his side qualify from the group. Zielinski was at the heart of everything positive Napoli tried to do and his range of short and long passing was a problem for the Foxes throughout.
Zielinski during Napoli-Leicester clash
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NAPOLI: Meret 6, Di Lorenzo 6, Rrahmani 6, Juan Jesus 6, Mario Rui 6, Demme 7, Zielinski 8, Lozano 5, Ounas 7, Elmas 7, Petagna 6. Subs: Malcuit 6, Mertens 5, Manolas n/a