Napoli 1-1 FC Barcelona: To be decided at Montjuïc

Napoli 1-1 FC Barcelona: To be decided at Montjuïc

A dominant display and a fine result in Naples, although the Catalans will rightly feel that this was a game they should have won

A 1-1 draw away from home in the first leg of a Champions League knockout tie is never a bad result, but Barça will be coming back from Naples feeling that they deserved more than they actually got out of Wednesday’s clash.

Much the superior side over 90 minutes, Robert Lewandowski gave them the lead on the hour mark. But with one of their few attempts of their own, Napoli equalised in the 75th minute, leaving everything to play for at the Estadi Olimpic on March 12.

Lewandowski opener

The Catalans are still brilliantly poised for a place in the quarter finals, but will feel somewhat short-changed from a game that was very much there for the taking.

It was Pedri who supplied the ball for Lewandowski’s finish, when the Pole did what he does best by shuffling into position, picking his spot, and making goalscoring look easy when it is anything but.

Indeed, despite bossing the game until then, turning their dominance into much of real consequence was proving very difficult indeed.

There were some early antics from Lamine Yamal, a great chance for Lewandowski that went straight at the keeper, and some speculative efforts from long range from Ilkay Gundogan but generally there wasn’t an awful lot happening in the final third.

Napoli hit back

The home fans can’t have been overly impressed by their own team, who other than a period of pressure in the build-up to half-time had presented very evidence against the argument that Barça’s eventual opener was anything less than they deserved.

Neither was Napoli’s reaction after going a goal down anything to get the Barça defence especially worried about, which made it all the more frustrating when they managed to pull level.

There was an element of luck to the goal. In a tussle between Iñigo Martinez and Victor Osimhen on the edge of the area, the Basque went to ground and the Nigerian was free to stoke the ball past Ter Stegen and make it 1-1. It was Napoli's first shot on target in the whole game.

Perhaps the Italians had been lacking a bit of self-belief, because after scoring they became a different side and had two or three chances to take what would have been a most unexpected lead.

They didn’t. Neither could Gundogan convert a fine chance with practically the last kick of the game, and the game ended 1-1. 

Força Barça
Força Barça

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