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Result: Napoli in pole position to make Europa League semi-finals after thrashing Wolfsburg

Wolfsburg succumb to a comprehensive 4-1 defeat at the hands of Napoli in Thursday evening's Europa League quarter-final first leg at the Volkswagen Arena.

Wolfsburg have succumbed to a comprehensive 4-1 defeat at the hands of Napoli in this evening's Europa League quarter-final first leg at the Volkswagen Arena.

Napoli's Slovakian midfielder Marek Hamsik (R) celebrates after scoring his team's second goal with his team-mates during the UEFA Europa League first-leg quarter-final football match on April 16, 2015© Getty Images

The hosts were quickest off the starting blocks and dominated proceedings in the early stages as Luiz Gustavo and Kevin De Bruyne weighed in with half-chances.

Before long, however, Napoli got into gear and drew first blood on the quarter-hour mark when a quick break allowed Dries Mertens to flash a diagonal ball into the box, where Gonzalo Higuain chested down and powered home.

The Partenopei then doubled their lead in the 23rd minute courtesy of a masterful goal which saw Higuain power down the channel before curling a low ball for Marek Hamsik who, without breaking stride, lashed into the bottom right corner from the edge of the area.

For a while following their goal, Napoli took complete control of the game, but Wolfsburg ended the half strongly as Andre Schurrle forced a fine fingertip save from Mariano Andujar on the stroke of half time.

As with the first half, Dieter Hecking's charges began the second period brightly, but were soon under the cosh once again as Diego Benaglio kept out a seemingly goalbound effort by the unmarked Higuain.

There was cause for concern when Miguel Britos nearly sliced a Wolfsburg effort into his own net, but Napoli regrouped and struck a third just after the hour through Hamsik, who was given free rein inside the hosts' box following some farcical defending.

It would get even worse for the beleaguered German high-flyers as they conceded a fourth in the 77th minute, substitute Manolo Gabbiadini rising highest to head Lorenzo Insigne's cross into the net.

Solace for Wolfsburg came in the form of a consolation goal three minutes later as Nicklas Bendtner made the most of a snoozing Napoli defence to tap home from Ivan Perisic's cutback.

The visitors, however, were home and dry by this point and were able to see the rest of the game out to take an emphatic lead into the second leg at the San Paolo next week.

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Napoli's Slovakian midfielder Marek Hamsik (R) celebrates after scoring his team's second goal with his team-mates during the UEFA Europa League first-leg quarter-final football match on April 16, 2015
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool35277179205988
2Manchester CityMan City34282487226586
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs352311165353070
4Chelsea35207859382167
5Arsenal34206868432566
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd34197863481564
7Watford35148135050050
8Everton35147145044649
9Leicester CityLeicester35146154847148
10Wolverhampton WanderersWolves34139124142-148
11West Ham UnitedWest Ham35127164454-1043
12Crystal Palace35126174348-542
13Newcastle UnitedNewcastle35118163544-941
14Bournemouth35125184962-1341
15Burnley35117174462-1840
16Southampton35910164158-1737
17Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton3597193254-2234
18Cardiff CityCardiff3594223065-3531
RFulham3565243376-4323
RHuddersfield TownHuddersfield3535272069-4914

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