Napoli on Wednesday became the first team to fail to progress from the UEFA Champions League group stages with 12 points, as Borussia Dortmund, Arsenal and Napoli all finished Group F play tied with the same total. In the end, the Italian giant was eliminated thanks to its head-to-head record vs. Dortmund, and its goal differential vs. Arsenal. The disappointment for the club’s players and fans was exacerbated by the fact that the Partenopei failed to qualify for the Round of 16 by a single goal; its 2-0 win against Arsenal at the San Paolo on Wednesday left Napoli with an identical head-to-head record with the Gunners, which had a superior goal differential.
Striker Gonzalo Higuain, who opened the scoring in the 73rd minute, said: “It cannot be anything else but bad luck, because to win four games out of six and be eliminated is not something that happens often. Not going through is incredible. It is an injustice, really. Going out with 12 points – winning four games in such an immensely difficult group with two sides as strong as Arsenal and Dortmund – when you see teams going through with only one or two wins, with six or seven points, it's disappointing. We've got to look forward though.”
Added defender Christian Maggio: “It is hard to say how we feel right now. It hurts to go out like that. We showed how strong we are. Now we turn to the Europa League and Serie A. We need to react well, work hard, and the results will come. We are sure that we will get the rewards soon. We are pleased to have beaten two of the best sides in Europe, but we were in an incredible group. We still leave with our heads held high.”