March 12, 2014
Higuain goal not enough for Napoli; Neymar hits Champions League triple
Napoli suffered an agonising exit from the Champions League after beating Premier League leaders Arsenal 2-0 this afternoon, with Argentine Gonzalo Higuain hitting the first goal.
Borussia Dortmund's 87th-minute goal to beat Marseille 2-1 meant all three teams finished on 12 points in Group F but Napoli missed out due to their head-to-head record.
Higuain scored Napoli's opener in the 73rd minute as the hosts came to life after a dismal opening hour which Arsenal controlled, without looking like scoring. Jose Callejon scored the home side's second in injury time but it was not enough.
It was the 14th season in a row that Arsenal, who had captain Mikel Arteta sent off for a second bookable offence in the 75th minute, have reached the last 16.
They finished runners-up to Dortmund, last year's losing finalists, in the group.
Brazilian star Neymar, meanwhile finally showed the goalscoring touch he has been threatening with a hat-trick as Barcelona shrugged off their recent dip in form with a 6-1 win over Celtic at the Nou Camp to seal top spot in Champions League Group H.
Gerard Pique stabbed home with seven minutes on the clock and, with Celtic stretched at the back, Pedro and Neymar both finished clinically before half-time.
Neymar had never scored before in Europe but got two more after the break, with Adam Matthews unable to stop the Brazilian's third from going over the line. Cristian Tello completed Barca's scoring with another deflected shot.
Celtic grabbed a consolation goal through Giorgios Samaras two minutes from time.
Barcelona finish top of the section with 13 points, four ahead of second-placed Milan and five ahead of Ajax, who drew 0-0 at the San Siro.