Napoli fight back to deny Leicester

Napoli fight back to deny Leicester

Striker Victor Osimhen scored a second-half brace as Napoli fought back to earn a 2-2 draw at Leicester City in a pulsating Europa League Group C clash on Thursday. Scottish champions Rangers suffered a 2-0 home defeat by Olympique Lyonnais in Group A after city rivals Celtic, the 1967 European Cup winners, were beaten 4-3 at Real Betis in the early kick-off in Group G.

Ayoze Perez fired Leicester into a ninth-minute lead when he side-footed home a perfect Harvey Barnes cross and Leicester soaked up pressure with goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel making several fine saves before they doubled their lead. Napoli pressed but were caught cold in the 64th minute as Barnes took a defence-splitting pass by Kelechi Iheanacho in his stride and drilled a crisp low shot through keeper David Ospina’s legs.

Nigerian Osimhen pulled one back five minutes later with a predator’s finish as he pulled away from his marker and poked the ball over the advancing Schmeichel from close range.

With Leicester running out of steam, Osimhen rose above his markers to head home a Matteo Politano cross in the 87th minute and spark wild celebrations on the Napoli bench.

Leicester midfielder Wilfred Ndidi was sent off in stoppage time for a second yellow card. Karl Toko Ekambi curled in a delightful shot from 25 metres to give Lyon the lead at Rangers and visiting keeper Anthony Lopes denied Joe Arbo an equaliser with a superb reflex save.

Lyon sealed the win with a James Tavernier own goal as the ball ricocheted off the defender after a frantic goal-mouth scramble in the 55th minute. In the other Group A match, Denmark’s Brondby were held to a 0-0 home draw by Slavia Prague.

In Group B, 1988 European Cup winners PSV Eindhoven came from behind to force a 2-2 home draw with Real Sociedad and a Krepin Diatta goal gave Monaco a 1-0 win over visiting Sturm Graz. Emerging talent Cody Gakpo salvaged a point for PSV after Adnan Januzaj and Alexander Isak cancelled out Mario Goetze’s opener for the home side in a see-saw contest.

In Group D, Mesut Ozil gave Fenerbahce an early lead at Eintracht Frankfurt before Sam Lammers turned in a Filip Kostic cross to ensure a share of the spoils while Olympiakos Piraeus eked out a last-gasp 2-1 home win over Antwerp.

Earlier on Thursday, goals from Michail Antonio and Declan Rice gave West Ham United a 2-0 Group H win at Dinamo Zagreb while 1991 European Cup winners Red Star Belgrade beat Portugal’s Braga 2-1 in Group F.

Early goals from Albian Ajeti and Josip Juranovic gave Celtic a 2-0 lead at Betis but a Juanmi brace and goals by Juan Miranda and Borja Iglesias turned the match on its head before Anthony Ralston set up a tense finish. Source-The Daily Star

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