PREVIEW: Napoli v FC Barcelona

PREVIEW: Napoli v FC Barcelona

The second leg of the Europa League playoff is all square after the 1-1 draw at Camp Nou seven days ago

Following the 1-1 draw at Camp Nou seven days ago, FC Barcelona now face Napoli in the second leg at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona, Naples in search of a place in the last sixteen.

Piotr Zieliński put the Italians in the lead last Thursday, and a second half penalty converted by Ferran Torres levelled things up. However, the Catalans had a wealth of opportunities to put some distance between themselves and their opponents, with 21 shots on goal that they failed to capitalise on.

Not taking chances seems to have been a constant this season at FC Barcelona, but if the brilliant performance to win 4-1 at Valencia on Sunday is anything to go by, then the blaugrana forward line has finally found the right touch.


Team news

Defenders Sergi Roberto, Samuel Umtiti and Clément Lenglet, as well as forwards Ansu Fati and Memphis are all still injured, while Dani Alves is not registered to play in the Europa League.

News from Naples

After AC Milan could only draw with Salernitana and Inter suffered a shock home defeat to Sassuolo, Napoli had the chance to go top of Serie A on Monday night when they played away to Cagliari. But all they could do was draw, and that was only thanks to a very late equaliser from Victor Osimhen, meaning they stay third in the table.

Injury troubles have also mounted for Napoli. Hirving Lozano, Zambo Anguissa, Lobotka, Kevin Malcuit and Tuanzebe are all out though injuries but Politano and Insigne seems set to be involved after recovering from knocks. 

Maradona tribute

The Argentine legend, after whom the Stadio San Paolo was renamed in 2020, is a revered figure in Naples, and this game against another of Maradona’s former clubs is to be preceded by a special tribute in his honour.

Did you know?

Barça have drawn 1-1 at Camp Nou in the first leg of six previous two-legged European ties. On three of those occasions, the Catalans went on to win on aggregate, and the other three times they lost.

This is the first time Barça have played a second leg since the away goals rule was abolished. Whereas in the past a 0-0 draw would have seen Napoli go through and 2-2 would have won it for FC Barcelona, under the new rules, the game will go into extra time regardless.

Napoli have only lost one of their ten games at home to La Liga teams in UEFA competitions, and 3-1 defeat to Real Madrid in 2017. Meanwhile, Barça are unbeaten on their last four visits to Italy.

Barça have won away to more Italian teams than any other club (Fiorentina, Inter, Juventus, Lazio, Milan and Udinese), but have yet to do so at Napoli.

The coach says

On Wednesday boss Xavi Hernández in his pre game press conference said that he expected a 'different' Napoli to the one that appeared happy to hang on for a draw in the first leg at Camp Nou: 


Força Barça
Força Barça

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