14 reasons for Swansea to regret missing chance to beat Napoli at home

Stadio San Paolo

Swansea missed a catalogue of chances to give themselves an advantage ahead of the trip to southern Italy a week from Thursday.

The Swans absolutely bossed Napoli at the Liberty Stadium in seeing 69% of the possession and taking 21 shots to the visitors’ nine, but couldn’t find a way through to settle for a scoreless draw.

A combination of Partenopei goalkeepers Rafael Cabral and Pepe Reina and profligacy from the Welsh outfit kept Garry Monk’s men from taking an aggregate lead in the first leg of the sides’ round of 32 Europa League tie.

And Swansea have plenty of reasons to regret not having seized the opportunity to leave Napoli with a mountain to climb in the decisive 90 minutes - 14 of them in total.

Out of 18 competitive fixtures Rafael Benitez’s charges have contested at the San Paolo this term, they’ve won 14, pairing this outstanding record with three draws and just one loss.

The ground that Diego Maradona formerly graced with his elegant presence is one of Europe’s premier fortresses, a cauldron packed to the rafters with vociferous supporters known for making life difficult for opponents.

Borussia Dortmund, Arsenal, Marseille, Roma, Inter and Milan have all counted themselves victims of the stadium lying in the shadow of Vesuvius this term, a rather illustrious list.

A 0-0 draw isn’t necessarily a poor result to take on the road in a two-legged affair under normal circumstances - a 1-1 stalemate or greater valid to secure progress to the next round on away goals - but Napoli are quite simply an prolific beast at the San Paolo.

This superb winning record is what Swansea will be up against if harbouring any hopes of moving on to the final 16 of the Europa League.

The Swans certainly had the chance to make their coming task easier back home in south Wales, yet now must accomplish what a pair of elite clubs in Dortmund and Arsenal couldn’t down in the peninsula.

Is there still hope? Sure, but Swansea’s mettle will be put to a great test with the numbers proving exactly what they’ll be up against in the return leg.

image: © SheaAk

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