Barça 3-1 Napoli: Into the Champions League quarter-finals!

Barça 3-1 Napoli: Into the Champions League quarter-finals!

Xavi Hernández' side are through to the CL quarter-finals after a four year hiatus after beating Napoli at the Estadi Olímpic Lluis Companys

The best home crowd of the season at the Estadi Olímpic Lluis Companys roared on FC Barcelona to a 3-1 win against Napoli, confirming their place in the Champions League quarter-finals draw on Friday.

A great start to the game saw the blaugranes take an early 2-0 lead and despite the Italian side grabbing a goal back before half-time, the Barça backline, and man of the match Cubarsí in particular, weathered the storm, before the win was sealed late on by a Lewandowski goal.

The goals fly in

A clear pattern to the game from the off saw both sides looking to make runs in behind, Napoli’s Osimhen looking dangerous. 17-year-old Cubarsí may have been making his CL debut at centre back, but he already showed his quality after just 8 minutes with a great challenge on Osimhen himself.

Another young blaugrana starlet in Fermín dragged a shot wide after 9 minutes, before Cubarsí found him with a lovely ball over the top that the midfielder couldn’t keep down four minutes later. 

Fermín wasn’t to be denied though, finishing a Raphinha cutback from the left for 1-0 after 15 minutes after Lewandowski smartly let the ball run into his path. The blaugranes had the bit between their teeth and Raphinha was again involved just two minutes later as his right-footed shot hit the post, before cannoning out for Cancelo to score, 2-0 after 17 minutes. 

It might have looked like Napoli had a tough task ahead for the rest of the game, but Rrahmani opened his left foot to score to the right of Ter Stegen after they had broken the offside trap. The German stopper was again involved just four minutes later, this time saving well from Napoli skipper Di Lorenzo’s header. Half time score 2-1 and all to play for. 

Napoli pressure but Barça win through

Early pressure from Napoli after the break saw a Kvaratskhelia shot flash wide of Ter Stegen’s left post after 47 mins, which was the best of the visitor’s chances during that period despite a number of corners and free kicks. The blaugranes responded through a Raphinha shot after 54 minutes after good work by Cancelo on the left, but Napoli were having joy down their right through Kvaratskhelia and Rui. 

Xavi counteracted the visitors’ thrust in midfield by bringing on Sergi Roberto for Fermín and Romeu for Christensen. The changes seemed to take effect as the home side were finding more joy in attack, first a Raphinha free kick was parried wide and the resulting corner was saved after 67 minutes. A Gündoğan shot went close on 73 minutes and again the subsequent corner almost led to a goal.

Napoli had made their own changes, but Barça were looking increasingly dangerous on the break, with an assured Cubarsí at the back mopping up. A Raphinha shot was saved after 75 minutes, before a good ball recovery by Sergi Roberto ended up with a Lamine Yamal shot curling wide.

A late push by Napoli saw substitute Lindstrom head just wide of Ter Stegen’s left post, but the game was won by a great move by the blaugranes, Sergi Roberto again involved, with a run inside and pass to Gündoğan, who played the slide rule pass back to the midfielder who squared for Lewandowski to make it 3-1 after 83 minutes.

Olivera hit the woodwork and Kvaratskhelia flashed wide for Napoli late on, but the game was already won and FC Barcelona are through to the Champions League quarter-finals after a four year hiatus!


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