The Argentina international inspired Rafa Benitez’s side to a 3-1 victory at San Paulo, which he says will be vital ahead of the return leg
Napoli striker Gonzalo Higuain was delighted after netting a hat-trick in his side’s 3-1 Europa League victory over Dinamo Moscow.
The Argentina international three inside an hour after Kevin Kuranyi had given the visitors the lead at the San Paulo in the first leg of their last-16 tie.
And the former Real Madrid star says the two-goal advantage will be vital for the return fixture.
“I’m happy for the hat-trick but above all for the win, which we really wanted,” Higuain told the club website.
“It was not easy to beat Dinamo Moscow, who are really tough opponents. We knew that and wanted to get the win at home so we can go to Russia with that extra bit of confidence.
“We could have scored a fourth goal but the important thing was to gain an advantage and after their goal in the first few minutes, it was not easy to bounce back like we did.”
Rafael Benitez also stressed that the tie is not yet finished and urged his side to remain concentrated when they play in the Russian capital.
“We have made an important step forward, but it won’t be easy in Russia,” he said. “We will have to work very hard to qualify.
“Higuain is very important for us, but the whole team played well tonight. All the lads allowed Gonzalo to score three goals this evening.”