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SSC Napoli ties with Athletic Bilbao for first-leg in UEFA Champions League

Gonzalo Higuain of Napoli celebrates after scorig the goal 1-1 during the first leg of UEFA Champions League qualifying play-offs round match between SSC Napoli and Athletic Club on August 19, 2014 in Naples, Italy.
Photo by Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images

Italian club team SSC Napoli tied with Spaniard club team Athletic Bilbao 1-1 at the San Paolo Stadium in Italy on Tuesday. The match hosted by the Italian club was the first leg of the UEFA Champions League play-off round. The winner of this two-leg-game bout will move on to the group stage of the Champions League.

As reported on Tuesday by ESPN Deportes, the Spaniard team Athletic had scored first in the first half. The goal was made by Spaniard striker Iker Muniain in the 41st minute.

The first goal of the game gave Athletic the advantage as the second leg is scheduled to be played in Spain. If the game had ended with that lone goal, the Spaniard club would have been sitting pretty.

However, in the second half, Argentine striker Gonzalo Higuain tied the game for SSC Napoli. Higuain dribbled the ball at the top of the box and took a lethal low shot past the Athletic Bilbao defense and past goalkeeper Gorka Iraizoz.

The goal from Higuain saved the Italian club team from trying to come up from behind for the second-leg match to be played in Spain next week. Instead, the Azzurri will play in Spain against Athletic without having to worry about the goal that was made earlier by Muniain thanks to Argentine forward Higuain.

The next match for the Azzurri and Athletic is scheduled for August 27. Still, the victory is not going to be easy for the Italian club when playing in Spain, if they get it at all. Bilbao had placed in 4th place in La Liga last season, so they are a tough team.

SSC Napoli in the meantime had placed in 3rd place in the Serie A league. Also, the Italian domestic league starts on August 30. So, the chance for the Italian club to stay alive in the UEFA Champions League could end via Athletic Bilbao before Serie A begins.

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