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Arsenal beat Napoli to reach Europa semis

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Alexandre Lacazette gave Arsenal a vital away goal to put them 1-0 ahead in the 36th minute with a fantastic free-kick. Photo/DAILY MAIL

NAPLES, Italy, Apr 18 – Alexandre Lacazette scored the only goal as Arsenal dispatched Napoli 1-0 on Thursday to advance to the Europa League semi-finals 3-0 on aggregate.

Lacazette’s stunning 36th-minute free-kick put the English club through to a final four meeting with Spanish side Valencia.

The exit of Carlo Ancelotti’s Napoli means no Italian clubs are left in European competition this season.

Unai Emery’s side were never troubled by the Italians despite the heated atmosphere in the Stadio San Paolo, even after losing departing midfielder Aaron Ramsey to a hamstring injury after half an hour.

Napoli had turned up the pressure early with a chance to break through after 17 minutes with Kalidou Koulibaly going on the counter-attack, racing up the pitch to cross to Jose Callejon but Petr Cech closed down the Spaniard’s weak effort.

Alexandre Lacazette wrapped up the tie with a fine free-kick
© AFP Andreas SOLARO

Ramsey limped off after 33 minutes with Henrikh Mkhitaryan coming on for the Welsh international.

The Armenian promptly set up Lacazette who was awarded a free-kick after being brought down by Piotr Zielinski.

Lacazette whipped the ball in from 25 metres past a motionless Alex Meret in the Napoli goal.

Emery now faces a reunion with former club Valencia, 5-1 aggregate winners over fellow Spaniards Villarreal, as he targets a fourth Europa League title.

The final will be in Baku on May 29.

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