Goals from Goran Pandev and Duvan Zapata were good, but still weren’t enough to see Napoli through the quarter-finals as Nabil Ghilas and Ricardo Quaresma had netter two quick goals for Porto, who had won the first leg 1-0.
Napoli Boss Rafa Benitez thought the 2-2 draw was “extraordinary” but wished his sides failure to enter the top spot be undone. “I believe that the team have played an extraordinary match, we had control, intensity and speed for at least one hour,” he told sscnapoli.it.
“We scored one goal but we should have scored another and closed out the game. Unfortunately we didn’t convert, they had a chance and they took advantage.
“However, it was a one-way match.” Pandev went for a superb start to open the scoring in the 20th minute before substitute Ghilas levelled with a 69th-minute penalty. Quaresma thrashed Napoli off with brilliant individual effort.
“We watched a stellar performance and Pandev’s qualities are not in doubt,” he added. “Up to now we have played more than 40 matches and when I analyse what we have achieved I’m very satisfied. “As a coach I’m proud of my guys. We are third in the league and we are in the Coppa Italia final. In Europe we went out of the Champions League in a stunning way, and (on Thursday night) we should and we could have won.”
“For a team in its first year together with a new coach and a new set-up I would say that the overall evolution is looking positive.”