Barcelona sweep Napoli apart to make Europa League final 16

Barcelona sweep Napoli apart to make Europa League final 16



Naples (Italy) (AFP) – Barcelona cruised into the final 16 of the Europa League on Thursday after comfortably seeing off Napoli 4-2 to undergo 5-3 on mixture in a critical present of pressure.

The Catalan giants have been on prime virtually from the off in Naples because of Jordi Alba expertly ending a lightning counter-attack from a Napoli nook, and Frenkie de Jong’s excellent lengthy vary effort successfully ended the tie with three quarters of the match to play. 

Xavi’s thrilling aspect might have had extra earlier than Lorenzo Insigne briefly gave the hosts hope from the penalty spot mid-way by means of the primary half, and Gerard Pique made completely certain there could be no Napoli comeback on the stroke of half-time.

A sobering night time for Napoli, who’re chasing a primary Serie A title in three a long time, was capped simply earlier than the hour mark by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, spectacular up entrance for a dynamic Barca workforce which appears to be like like it could actually go all the way in which within the competitors.

“We dominated we for 90 minutes and that’s the first time we’ve done that since I became coach,” Xavi advised reporters.

“It’s a win over a team which I repeat is a Champions League-level team, one which does not concede many goals and is fighting for the league title.”

Matteo Politano pulled one again within the dying minutes nevertheless it was a stroll for Barca into Friday’s draw for the final 16, whose matches will probably be performed on March 10 and 17.

“We made life difficult for ourselves with that awful start… You need to press Barcelona together as a team otherwise you will be in trouble as they will just pass it around you,” Politano advised Sky Sport Italia.

– Napoli followers applaud Barca –

The night time started with loads of enthusiasm on the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona as the 2 groups lined up with a banner which learn “Stop War” in protest at Russia’s invasion of Ukraine which garnered loud applause.

However Napoli instantly handed the initiative to Barca, a dreadful brief nook cleared to Adana Traore who raced up the sector and fed Alba, who calmly slotted residence the opener.

That error, and the blisteringly fast method during which it was punished, rattled the house aspect and when De Jong curled in an beautiful second the match and tie was all-but accomplished and dusted.

Sergio Dest and Aubameyang then had pictures whistle by Alex Meret’s purpose as the house followers started to voice their displeasure at their workforce’s timid efforts.

Napoli got a lifeline by Marc-Andre ter Stegen, who got here charging out to beat Victor Osimhen to the ball however took out the Nigerian and after a VAR examine ended up freely giving a penalty.

Insigne slotted residence the Twenty third-minute spot-kick however Barca continued their dominance and the house followers set free a sigh of aid when Aubameyang in some way headed extensive from point-blank vary.

Any phantasm of Napoli getting by means of was ended on the stroke of half-time, after they did not clear a nook and Pique scuffed a left-footed shot previous Meret.

Barca’s dominance was such that when Aubameyang ended a lengthy spell of possession, and away fan ‘oles’, with an aesthetic end the Napoli supporters applauded.

The away part garnered extra appreciation from their hosts after they began chanting anti-Juventus songs, however the remainder of the match was performed out in an eerie silence. 

The residence followers began streaming for the exits with over 10 minutes left as Barca contented themselves by stroking the ball round, and Politano’s nicely-taken comfort purpose drew little greater than a well mannered ripple from a long-since crushed crowd.



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