Rafa Benitez bullish as Napoli face Ukraine trip

Napoli coach Rafa Benitez is confident his side can overcome Dnipro tonight and reach the final of the Europa League (8.05pm, live on 3e, ITV4).

The Italians travel to Kiev’s Olympic stadium needing to score after Yevhen Seleznyov’s late equaliser handed Dnipro a precious away goal in last week’s 1-1 draw in the opening leg in Naples.

“We can go there and win. I am optimistic because we have the potential to get to the final,” Benitez said.

“I expect a defensive game from Dnipro but I don’t think they can afford to risk just closing themselves down.

“We will go out on the pitch with the same mentality we always have.

“I believe if we play the way we did in the first leg and if we display the same fighting spirit and determination we showed last week, we can progress.”

Dnipro, looking to reach their first major European final, have shown no signs of weakness at home this season.

They have won their last four European home games without conceding a goal and will have a crowd of 70,000 fans cheering them on at the stadium.

“This is an historic game for us and we are well aware of it,” Dnipro coach Myron Markevych told the Ukrainian press.“We have to play our game and show our quality.

“Napoli is not an easy opponent and we expect a very difficult game. We need to have more possession than we did in Naples.”

Argentinian forward Gonzalo Higuain, who is the top scorer left in the competition with seven goals, will lead Napoli’s attack with team captain Marek Hamsik playing in support in what will be his 50th European competition appearance.


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