Napoli 2-4 FC Barcelona: Bellissimo!

Napoli 2-4 FC Barcelona: Bellissimo!

Goals from Jordi Alba, Frenkie de Jong, Piqué and Aubameyang and a brilliant all-round display send the Catalans coasting into the last 16 of the Europa League

FC Barcelona produced an absolutely tremendous display at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona to coast their way into the last sixteen of the Europa League.

From start to finish, it was an absolute masterclass from the Catalans, who were already two goals to the good before the first quarter of an hour was up, and from there on never really looked in trouble against the side that’s currently third in Serie A.

It wasn’t just the result but also the way it happened. Confident passing football, never really allowing their opponents to get anything going, and capitalising brilliantly on the many opportunities with some simply stunning goals.

Barça will go into Friday’s draw at 12.00pm CET on Friday, and if they will have seen anything of today’s display, then the prospect of facing Xavi’s rampant side will not be an attractive one for any of Red Star Belgrade, Eintracht Frankfurt, Galatasaray, Bayer Leverkusen, Olympique Lyonnais, Spartak Moscow or West Ham.

The game was preceded by both teams presenting their message of opposition to Russian military action in Ukraine.


Perfect start

Barça were two goals ahead in the first quarter of an hour and both goals were absolute beauties.

The first began with a fluffed Napoli corner, for which they were severely punished. Adama Traoré spearheaded the perfect counter attack, powering his way through a sea of blue shirts before laying up a tremendous pass for Jordi Alba to meet and fire home.

The second from Frenkie de Jong was equally impressive. A scrumptious back-heel from Ferran Torres and what a finish from the Dutchman! From outside of the area it was no thunderbolt. Instead it was such a gorgeously executed curler that Napoli keeper Alex Meret could only watch as it glided into the top corner.

Barça were on fire. Chance after chance followed, some of them very good ones too. But it was the Italians, who had barely created any danger of their own, who got back into the game when Ter Stegen was judged to have clipped Victor Osimhen in the area. Lorenzo Insigne made no mistake from the spot.


Total football

Barça still led, but they deserved more. And justice was done thanks to Gerard Piqué. After going up for a corner, the centre back received the ball in a crowded area and his left foot managed to find the perfect sweet spot to stroke the ball inside the far post.

Napoli tried to battle back into the game, but Barça were having none of it. Another flash of brilliance from Adama teed up Aubameyang, and the Gabonese striker swiped the ball goalward.

That’s an extraordinary 26 goals for Auba in this competition, and four for Barça against the meanest defence in the Italian league.


There was very little story to the rest of the game. Napoli knew they were just playing for consolation now. And they did get one when Matteo Politano made the most of a rare moment of confusion in the Barça defence.

Barça by that time, the game was dead and buried. Half the Neapolitan crowd had already seen enough and left for home. Barça had just been too good.

One down, a potential four more still to go. The club’s first Europa League title is one step closer.

Força Barça
Força Barça

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