A combo of sensations, which included sadness, uncertainty, emotion and final joy, accompanied the first match at the renamed Diego Armando Maradona stadium in Naples, where the team in which the best footballer of all time shone in the 1980s tied 1 to 1 with Real Sociedad for the last date of the group stage of the Europa League and got his pass to the 16th final, like the Basque team.
Six days after the Naples Communal Board approved the renaming of the old San Paolo stadium, proposed by the mayor Luigi de Magistris, Napoli had to play his pass in a group in which nothing was defined, since the local (10 points), the Real (8) and the AZ Alkmaar Dutch (8), who was visiting the HNK Rijeka Croatian (1), they were fighting for the two tickets to the next phase.
After the emotional minute of silence for the death of Paolo Rossi, the great symbol of the selected Italian World Cup champion Spain 1982, the Guipuzcoans came out much more determined, but the Neapolitans, for whom the draw was enough, went ahead with a goal from the Polish Piotr Zielinski at 34 of the first period.
Then began the journey on the roller coaster of the Basque team, which charged in search of the tie that would restore the illusion while spying on what was happening in Croatian territory. At the start of the complement, a goal from Rijeka restored his smile for just a few minutes, because very quickly AZ Alkmaar got back together.
In added time of the second half and when he had already played face to face for a long time, La Real, who had faced this duel without its two main figures (David Silva Y Mikel Oyarzábal), reached equality with a point-blank right from the Brazilian Willian Jose from the penalty spot. While the Basques celebrated, Rijeka scored his second goal.
With this configuration of results, the pact of non-aggression was sealed from the banks in Naples and the last three minutes were a succession of lateral passes in the vicinity of the central circle, without anyone worrying about doing something more daring. When the Israeli referee Orel Grinfeld He blew his whistle one last time, everyone raised their arms. The first game at Diego Maradona left everyone happy.
None of the other 11 groups in the tournament had reserved so much uncertainty for the last date, although there were still things to be resolved. Among them, the first place in zone J, which remained in the hands of José Mourinho’s Tottenham. With a goal from Giovani Lo Celso, the Premier League leaders defeated 2-0 in London at Royal Antwerp Belgian and snatched the top step.
Milan also finished at the top, defeating 1-0 away from Sparta Prague with a bit of Norwegian Jens Petter Hauge. The Serie A pointer took advantage of the fall of the Little French, who lost 3 to 2 with Celtic in Scotland and had to settle for second place. Another who stayed with his zone was Bayer Leverkusen who, without Lucas Alario and Exequiel Palacios (both injured), thrashed 4-0 at home at Slavia Prague Czech.
The 24 teams that made it through the group stage will be joined by the eight that finished third in the Champions League zones (Ajax, Witches, Manchester United, Shakhtar Donetsk, Salzburg, Olympiacos, Krasnodar Y Dynamo of Kiev) to contest the 16th finals of the contest on February 18 and 25. The draw for the crosses will take place on Monday.
Young Boys (Suiza) 2 – 1 Cluj (Romania)
CSKA Sofia (Bulgaria) 3 – 1 Rome Italy)
Classified: Roma y Young Boys
Dundalk (Irlanda) 2 – 4 Arsenal (England)
Rapid Vienna (Austria) 2 – 2 Molde (Norway)
Classified: Arsenal and Mold
Bayer Leverkusen (Germany) 4 – 0 Slavia Prague (Czech Republic)
Hapoel Beer Sheva (Israel) 1 – 0 Nice (France)
Classified: Bayer Leverkusen y Slavia Praga
Standard Liège (Belgium) 2 – 2 Benfica (Portugal)
Lech Poznan (Poland) 0 – 2 Rangers (Scotland)
Classified: Rangers and Benfica
PSV Eindhoven (Netherlands) 4 – 0 Omonia Nicosia (Cyprus)
PAOK (Greece) 0 – 0 Granada (Spain)
Classified: PSV Eindhoven and Granada
Naples Italy) 1 – 1 Real Sociedad (Spain)
HNK Rijeka (Croacia) 2 – 1 AZ Alkmaar (Países Bajos)
Classified: Napoli and Real Sociedad
Sporting Braga (Portugal) 2 – 0 Zorya Luhansk (Ucrania)
Leicester (Inglaterra) 2 – 0 AEK (Grecia)
Classified: Leicester y Sporting Braga
Celtic (Scotland) 3 – 2 Lille (France)
Sparta Prague (Czech Republic) 0 – 1 Milan (Italy)
Classified: Milan y Lille
Maccabi Tel-Aviv (Israel) 1 – 0 Sivasspor (Turkey)
* Villarreal and Qarabag did not play due to a covid-19 outbreak in the Azerbaijani squad
Classified: Villarreal and Maccabi Tel-Aviv
Tottenham (England) 2 – 0 Royal Antwerp (Bélgica)
Ludogorets (Bulgaria) 1 – 3 SHOOTING (Austria)
Classified: Tottenham y Royal Antwerp
Dinamo Zagreb (Croatia) 3 – 1 CSKA Moscow (Russia)
Wolfsberger (Austria) 1 – 0 Feyenoord (Netherlands)
Classified: Dinamo Zagreb and Wolfsberger
Hoffenheim (Germany) 4 – 1 Gent (Belgium)
Slovan Liberec (Czech Republic) 0 – 0 Red Star (Serbia)
Classified: Hoffenheim and Red Star