Aug 19, 2014 at 7.45pm UK at ​Stadio San Paolo
Athletic Bilbao
Higuain (68')
Jorginho (10')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Muniain (41')
Gurpegi (73'), Balenziaga (75')

Result: Athletic Bilbao hold Napoli to first-leg draw in Champions League

Athletic Bilbao hold Napoli to a 1-1 draw in the first leg of their Champions League playoff, taking a potentially crucial away goal back to Spain.

Athletic Bilbao have taken a slender advantage into the second leg of their Champions League playoff against Napoli, scoring an away goal to draw 1-1 with the Serie A side this evening.

Napoli's Spanish forward Jose Maria Callejon vies with Bilbao's Spanish defender Mikel Balenziaga during the first leg of the UEFA Champions League play-off football match between SSC Napoli and Bilbao Athletic Club in San Paolo Stadium on August 19, 2014

The visitors were the first to threaten as Aymeric Laporte rose highest inside the box having lost his marker, but his header went narrowly wide of the right post.

The Spanish outfit came close again just five minutes later when once more Napoli failed to deal with a lofted ball into the box, this time Aritz Aduriz latching on to it to draw a good save from Rafael Cabral.

Bilbao did find the back of the net four minutes before half time, however, as Oscar de Marcos slid a square pass to Iker Muniain, who took a touch inside the box before coolly slotting the ball into the bottom corner.

Iker Muniain of Athletic Bilbao celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the first leg of UEFA Champions League qualifying play-offs round match between SSC Napoli and Athletic Club on August 19, 2014© Getty Images

The hosts were level with just over 20 minutes remaining in the match courtesy of a fine solo effort from Gonzalo Higuain, who burst between two defenders before firing a low strike into the bottom corner.

Higuain almost turned provider moments later as he played the ball through for Jose Callejon, but the Spaniard put his effort just wide.

Napoli continued to push for a winner and came close again with seven minutes remaining, only for Gorka Iraizoz to deny Dries Mertens's 25-yard effort.

Iraizoz was called into action again shortly afterwards, but once again he was up to the challenge, this time denying Higuain with a fine stop as his side held out for the draw.

Napoli head coach Rafael Benitez gestures during the Serie A match between AS Roma and SSC Napoli at Stadio Olimpico on October 18, 2013
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Preview: Napoli vs. Athletic Bilbao
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