Barcelona Beat Napoli 5-3 on Aggregate to Advance to the Final 16 of the Europa League.

Barcelona Beat Napoli 5-3 on Aggregate to Advance to the Final 16 of the Europa League.

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25 Feb 2022
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Barcelona scored four goals against Italy’s toughest defense in the Diego Armando Maradona stadium, making a significant ‘we’re in it to win it’ statement.

Barcelona had only won one of their previous 11 away knockout matches in Europe, but their travelling fans sang “ole!” as they smashed Napoli to advance in the Europa League.

In a frantic first half, the Italians looked like surrendering every time Barcelona pushed, and they were only able to stay in the game at halftime after a mistake by Marc Andre ter Stegen awarded them a penalty.

With the opening goal on eight minutes, Jordi Alba stunned a team that had only conceded 18 goals in Italy this season.

Adama Traore provided the assist. With Ousmane Dembele moved to the bench, the Wolves loanee was re-instated in the starting lineup.

On 13 minutes, Frenkie de Jong was allowed to run into space on the outskirts of the Napoli area, from where he curled a beautiful shot past Alex Meret.

When Ter Stegen came out to the lateral edge of his penalty area and took down Victor Osimhen, Napoli reduced the gap temporarily. The penalty was struck by Lorenzo Insigne, but Napoli’s lone hope of a comeback was quickly shattered. Barcelona had made it 3-1 on the stroke of halftime, with Gerard Pique scoring the goal.

He gained space in the area and used his right foot to control the ball before firing a left-foot shot beyond Meret. At the resumption, there was more to come.

When De Jong ran over the ball, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang jogged on to it and clipped it into the top corner.

After scoring a hat-trick at the weekend, Aubameyang scored his fourth goal in five days. Barcelona now had a 2-5 aggregate lead going into today’s draw.

Barcelona had only scored two goals in the Champions’ League group stage, but inside an hour, they had doubled that total. They’d scored eight goals in their last two games, both of which were played away from home.

After replacement Nico was caught in possession, Matteo Politano beat Ter Stegen with a low shot to give Napoli a late consolation. However, the goal should not detract from Barcelona’s impressive victory in a venue where they were supposed to struggle in a competition they appeared not to take seriously.

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