James Maddison and Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall were the only positives as Napoli handed Leicester City a 3-2 loss on Thursday.
Leicester City began the game strongly, only to be denied by Alex Meret in the second minute. Shortly after, though, the Foxes fell behind, with Napoli breaking the deadlock through Adam Ounas, who scored from inside the box after receiving the ball from Andrea Petagna.
The two sides traded blows after that, with Napoli scoring for a second time midway through the first half. Eljif Elmas was on target for the hosts after some unselfish work by Petagna. However, Leicester pulled a goal back through Jonny Evans after the ball fell his way from James Maddison’s free-kick.
Six minutes later, another free-kick by Maddison was cleared straight to Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall, who produced a brilliant half-volley to make it 2-2. However, Napoli had the last laugh as Elmas grabbed his second of the game from close range by converting a low cross by Giovanni Di Lorenzo.
Leicester City attempted to get back on level terms in the final half-hour but lacked the cutting edge to trouble Meret. The result means Napoli have finished second in Group C behind Spartak Moscow, while Leicester City are out of the UEFA Europa League after dropping down to third. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Brendan Rodgers’s men.
Kasper Schmeichel: 6/10
Schmeichel was powerless to deny Napoli their three goals, as Adam Ounas and Eljif Elmas placed their shots perfectly. However, the Leicester captain made one big save to keep his team in the game. A largely frustrating evening for the Dane.
Timothy Castagne: 5/10
It was a nothing game for Castagne, who made no impact whatsoever in the final third while being put under the cosh at the back. The Belgian international lost his man time and again, including when Elmas scored the match-winner, putting Jonny Evans under enormous pressure. He has to do better.
Jonny Evans: 6/10
Jonny Evans has scored in a European competition for the first time since he scored for Manchester United in the #UCL against Bayer Leverkusen in 2013.
The Foxes are back in it against Napoli. #UEL pic.twitter.com/ka3ZwVMp51
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) December 9, 2021
The only reason Evans gets 6/10 and not the rating the rest of the defenders have been given is his goal, as he showed tremendous awareness to find the back of the net. He also made four interceptions while completing two clearances. However, he could not deal with the pace of Andrea Petagna on a few occasions, especially in the build-up to Elmas’s first.
Caglar Soyuncu: 5/10
2021/22 has been an awful season for Soyuncu, whose performance against Napoli exemplified that. The Turk left Ounas with too much space to shoot and was pulled out of position when Elmas scored his first goal. He made one big block and a few key clearances later on, but the damage had been done earlier in the game.
Ryan Bertrand: 5/10
A surprise starter ahead of Luke Thomas, Bertrand carried a lot of threat in the final third. However, his end product was sorely missing on Thursday. At the opposite end, the experienced full-back was utterly unconvincing and was played around with ease by Kevin Malcuit, leading up to the match-winner
Youri Tielemans: 5/10
Back in the starting lineup for the first time since recovering from his injury, Tielemans endured a game to forget. The Belgian was uncharacteristically sloppy in the middle of the park, losing the ball leading up to the opening Napoli goal. He was also overrun with ease when the hosts scored their second. In the second half, one pass to Castagne was exquisite, but that was as good as it got for him on the night.
Wilfred Ndidi: 6/10
Ndidi was not necessarily poor in the game, but he could have done better when Napoli looked to attack through the middle in the opening period. Instead, the Nigerian was overrun in midfield before he found stable footing post the interval. The major positive was his precise passing, as he only misplaced one of his attempted passes. Ndidi needed to do better on the defensive front, though.
James Maddison: 7/10
Deployed on the right side of the Leicester City attack, Maddison constantly forayed into the central areas, which allowed him to pull the strings better. His deliveries from set-pieces were fantastic, opening up play nicely in the build-up to each of the goals scored by Leicester.
Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall: 7/10
◉ Sunday: Makes his first Premier League start
◉ Thursday: Scores his first ever goal for Leicester
What a week for Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall. ? pic.twitter.com/B3DiVyNPXP
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) December 9, 2021
Dewsbury-Hall was surprisingly deployed in the no. 10 role instead of his usual position in the double-pivot. However, Rodgers’s decision was vindicated as he was a constant threat through the central areas, showing the side of the game that has not been seen before all too often. The cherry on top was the excellent finish that made it 2-2. Ultimately, it came to a nought, though.
Harvey Barnes: 5/10
So often a difference-maker for Leicester, Barnes was off-colour against Napoli. While he saw plenty of the bale, the Englishman did not utilise it properly, managing just one key pass while losing possession 12 times. He did not help out Ryan Bertrand either, which enabled Napoli to pounce on his side of the pitch.
Jamie Vardy: 5/10
Back in the starting lineup, Vardy endured a game to forget, as he struggled to get into the game even when Leicester grew into the proceedings. While the veteran striker did muster three shots, each of those was off target, while his passing rate of 64 per cent left a fair bit to be desired.
Patson Daka: N/A
On for Barnes, Daka did not see a lot of the ball, even as Leicester dominated the proceedings in the game’s final quarter. His only shot was off target.
Boubakary Soumare: N/A
On for Tielemans, Soumare kept things simple and helped Leicester retain control of the game in the final quarter of an hour.
Marc Albrighton: N/A
A late introduction, Albrighton did not have enough time to make an impact.
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