Napoli score quickly to take big advantage in first leg at Trabzonspor


Napoli have one foot in the last 16 of the Europa League after claiming an emphatic 4-0 win at Trabzonspor. The Turkish club will need to somehow repeat or better this daunting scoreline at the San Paolo next week if they are to pull off the most unlikely of comebacks and progress from the round of 32. Henrique's early header got Rafael Benitez's Azzurri motoring, with Gonzalo Higuain and Manolo Gabbiadini both plundering goals before half-time. Trabzonspor were better after the restart but, despite the fact Dries Mertens missed a late penalty, Napoli would make it four thanks to Duvan Zapata and his stoppage-time strike. It was one-way traffic in the first half and Napoli needed only five minutes to open the scoring. Henrique was the man in the right place when Mertens drilled a cross into the Trabzonspor box, the Brazilian defender rising to nod the ball downwards and home. Fifteen minutes later Napoli doubled their lead through Higuain. A quick break allowed Gabbiadini to burst into the Turks' area from the left wing and his perfectly-weighted ball across to Higuain just needed a cool touch from the former Real Madrid striker. Trabzonspor's heads were spinning and Napoli took full advantage to score their third in the 27th minute. The impressive Gabbiadini turned from provider to goalscorer as he cleverly controlled Mertens' pass from the left before turning on the spot and pinging the ball past Hakan Arikan from 20 yards. Napoli might have even grabbed a fourth before the break, but Higuain clattered the crossbar from close range. The hosts clearly resolved to put a brave face on for the second half and they were certainly brighter and better organised. Erkan Zengin soon missed a chance to cut the deficit from six yards and Ishak Dogan blasted over the bar on the hour mark. Napoli were subdued and Mertens' next attempt flew straight into Arikan's gloves. Oscar Cardozo was next to threaten for Trabzonspor and he warmed Mariano Andujar's palms with a curler before, in the 77th minute, Jose Bosingwa shot wide from a Dogan corner. In the final minutes Napoli would be gifted an opportunity to grab goal number four. When Fatih Atik fouled Mertens in the box the Belgian winger dusted himself down before taking the resulting spot-kick, yet he smashed his shot wide. The Turks thought they had at least found a small glimmer of comfort on a night to forget. But they had not counted on substitute Zapata, who effectively put their European adventure to bed with an unopposed goal from close range in the second minute of stoppage time.