Barcelona vs Napoli, Champions League: final score 3-1, Barça earns hard-fought home victory and qualifies for quarter-finals

Barcelona safely qualified for their first Champions League quarter-final in four years with a hard-fought 3-1 victory over Napoli in the second leg of their round of 16 tie at the Montjuic Olympic Stadium Tuesday evening. Barca made a phenomenal start, struggled mightily over the next 45 minutes of action, but finished the match strongly to claim a well-deserved victory and advance to the round of 16 of Europe’s top competition.


The first 20 minutes of the first half were, in a word, perfect: Barça started the match sensationally, playing up front with quick, incisive passing through the lines and a fierce attitude without the ball to press high on field. with exceptional intensity to win the ball back and prevent Napoli from having any fun with the ball.

And in addition to his mastery of the game, Barça created four big chances: Fermín López missed the first two, but the third time was the right one for the young midfielder: after an excellent passing sequence on the On the left wing, a through ball from João Cancelo found Raphinha, who took it back to the middle where Robert Lewandowski took out two defenders with a superb dummy and allowed Fermín enough time and space to finish well and give the advantage at Barça.

Napoli attacked from the kick-off and almost created a chance on the left wing, but Barça’s defense sorted out the problem and the ensuing counter-attack led to the fourth chance and the second goal: Lamine Yamal found Raphinha on the run and the Brazilian scored. inside the post with a powerful shot, and João Cancelo was quickest on the rebound to put the ball into an open net and double the lead. Blaugrana lead.

It was a truly fantastic start to the match from the home side which helped ease the nerves of both the team and the crowd, and the Catalans decided not to take too many risks and were comfortable letting Napoli have more of the ball while continuing to press high to force errors and create more chances.

But Barca fell back too far and lost the intensity shown in the opening 20 minutes, and they paid for it when a fine passing sequence down Napoli’s right wing ended with an assist from Matteo Politano and a rare goal from Amir Rrahmani, who made a surprising run from center back and found the bottom corner to bring the visitors back into the game and the tie.

Napoli were in complete control of the action in the minutes following the goal, and captain Giovanni Di Lorenzo nearly scored the equalizer with a header that required a world-class save from Marc-André ter Stegen. Barça had completely lost the advantage and dominance in the opening moments of the match, and the Catalans looked ready to give up their lead towards the end of the period.

But the Catalans did a solid job of regaining some control and slowing Napoli’s momentum, and they managed to maintain their lead at halftime. The home team were through at the break, but Napoli were still alive and prepared for a very tense second half.


The start of the final period was indeed tense, with Barça unable to hold the ball for long periods and not executing their pressing with the same intensity and attention to detail, which created more spaces so that Naples can attack from behind. Ronald Araujo and Pau Cubarsí made some key interventions against Victor Osimhen, but the Catalans seemed a little too tense at the hour mark.

Xavi Hernández sensed the problems in the defensive structure and tried to consolidate the game in midfield with Sergi Roberto and Oriol Romeu in place of Fermín López (who was starting to look very tired) and Andreas Christensen (who had received a card YELLOW). Napoli coach Francesco Calzona immediately responded with two substitutions, looking to add new legs to the wings and bring more danger to a vulnerable Barca defense.

Barca’s changes had a positive impact on the team from the start, as a more defensive midfield setup allowed the Catalans to regain control of the ball and slow down the pace of the game, forcing Napoli to beat retreating and defending his area for extended periods for the first time. half time. THE Blaugrana Yamal almost restored their two-goal lead, but the youngster was offside and the goal was disallowed.

Lamine really came alive after the hour mark, using his skills and aggressive dribbling to create havoc on the left side of the Napoli defense, and Barca’s best attacking moments all involved Yamal to some extent. THE Blaugrana We were once again the superior team on the pitch heading into the final 15 minutes, but they still needed a third goal to secure their qualification.

Yamal missed a golden opportunity to score that third goal, and Barça almost paid for it instantly in the 80th minute when a Mathías Olivera cross found Jesper Lindström all alone in the penalty area, but his header inexplicably went over next to it and the Catalans dodged. a major ball.

Xavi turned to his bench for help to score the all-important third goal as João Félix replaced Raphinha, but it was another substitute who decided the match: captain Roberto once again imposed on the European scene by making a fabulous solo run from the left to the center, completed a superb one-two with Ilkay Gündogan on the edge of the area and gave Robert Lewandowski the simplest strike to restore the advantage to Barça seven minutes from the end.

The final minutes were marked by a few scares as Napoli tried everything to achieve a late miracle, but Barça avoided conceding a second goal and the final whistle came to send them into the quarter-finals.

The spectacular start and strong finish helped Barca overcome a very difficult period in the middle of the match, and they absolutely deserved the victory and a place in the next round. Xavi made the right team selection and substitutions, and almost every player played at a high level for most of the evening. A real team victory and a good night in Europe for a change.

Well done boys!

Barcelona: Ter Roasting; Koundé, Araujo, Cubarsi, Cancelo; Fermin (Robert 61′), Christensen (Romeu 61′), Gündogan; Yamal, Lewandowski, Raphinha (Félix 80′)

Goals: Fermín (15′), Cancelo (17′), Lewandowski (83′)

Naples: Méret; Di Lorenzo, Rahmani, Jesus, Rui (Olivera 64′); Anguissa, Lobotka, Traoré (Raspadori 78′); Politano (Lindstrom 64′), Osimhen, Kvaratskhelia (Ngonge 90+3′)

Goals: Rrahmani (30′)

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