Napoli can’t take Dnipro lightly in Europa League first leg semi
Neither Napoli nor Dnipro have reached the Europa League final before, but both will be battling it out in their semi clash, starting with the first leg held at the former’s Stadio San Paolo.
This duo have faced each other before in this competition, twice back in the 2012/13 season group stages, and the Serie A side ran out 4-2 winners at this ground.
Napoli are odds-on 4/11 favourites with Coral to triumph again on home soil, and are 1/4 to qualify for the final, which is to be played in Warsaw’s Stadion Narodowy.
However, the Ukrainian outfit won the reverse fixture 3-1, and have caused a few shocks to get to this stage, having seen off Olympiakos, Ajax and Club Brugge in the knockout rounds. They are 8/1 chances for victory in Italy, and 11/4 to reach the final. A draw is 7/2.
Across both matches in the previous fixtures between Napoli and Dnipro, Uruguay attacker Edinson Cavani got all five goals for the former, but is now on the books of PSG.
Therefore, Rafa Benitez will have to call upon other star forwards for this occasion. Thankfully, he has a whole host of talent up front, in the likes of Gonzalo Higuain (10/11 to net anytime), Marek Hamsik, Jose Callejon (both 5/4), Lorenzo Insigne (7/4) and Dries Mertens (2/1).
Higuain, in particular, is one to watch for this game, as he is just one goal behind current competition top scorers Alan (of Red Bull Salzburg) and Everton’s Romelu Lukaku with seven. The Argentine is a more enticing 4/1 chance to net two or more.
Visitors Dnipro, meanwhile, will be able to call upon their star wing back Artem Fedetsky, who has scored twice against Napoli before. He has managed three goals in all competitions this term, and is 12/1 to net anytime again.
But their main threat up front will come from former Blackburn Rovers striker Nikola Kalinic, who has 17 strikes in total. The Croatia international is 7/2 in the anytime market.
Napoli are the current 11/10 favourites to go all the way this season, while Dnipro are 10/1 outsiders, but Benitez’s boys will need to be wary. Defending champions Sevilla and Fiorentina face off in the other semi-final.