London (UK), April 12: An Aaron Ramsey strike and a Kalidou Koulibaly own goal gave Arsenal a 2-0 victory over Napoli in the first leg of their Europa League quarter-final on Thursday – and a rare and valuable clean sheet to take to Italy in a week’s time.
Arsenal took the lead in the 14th minute through Ramsey, who finished off a sweeping move down the right by calmly slotting the ball past Napoli goalkeeper Alex Meret.
They doubled the advantage 10 minutes later after a moment of individual brilliance from Lucas Torreira, who dashed through the Napoli midfield before spinning and switching the ball to his left foot and letting fly.
The Uruguayan’s shot took a heavy deflection off Senegal defender Koulibaly and was registered as an own-goal.
“We can be happy with this result, but (Napoli) are going to be more competitive away. Our challenge – our success – is going to be if we can be competitive away,” Arsenal manager Unai Emery told reporters, repeatedly describing the tie as “50:50”.
The Gunners tried to increase their advantage as the first half wore on but they failed to capitalise despite several shots on goal from strikers Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, while Napoli had Meret to thank for numerous saves. (Agencies)