Barcelona and Napoli Hold up ‘Stop War’ Banner Before Barca Win 5-3 on Aggregate to Enter Europa League Last 16


Barcelona cruised into the final 16 of the Europa League on Thursday after comfortably seeing off Napoli 4-2 to undergo 5-3 on combination in a critical present of power.

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

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

A sobering evening for Napoli, who’re chasing a primary Serie A title in three many years, 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 might probably go all the best way within the competitors.

“We dominated we for 90 minutes and that’s the first time we’ve done that since I became coach,” Xavi instructed 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 but it surely was a stroll for Barca into Friday’s draw for the final 16, whose matches will likely 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 instructed Sky Sport Italia.

Napoli Fans Applaud Barca

The evening 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 immediately handed the initiative to Barca, a dreadful short corner cleared to Adana Traore who raced up the field and fed Alba, who calmly slotted home the opener.

That error, and the blisteringly quick manner in which it was punished, rattled the home side and when De Jong curled in an exquisite second the match and tie was all-but done and dusted.

Sergio Dest and Aubameyang then had shots whistle by Alex Meret’s goal as the home fans began to voice their displeasure at their team’s timid efforts.

Napoli were given a lifeline by Marc-Andre ter Stegen, who came charging out to beat Victor Osimhen to the ball but took out the Nigerian and after a VAR check ended up giving away a penalty.

Insigne slotted home the 23rd-minute spot-kick but Barca continued their dominance and the home fans let out a sigh of relief when Aubameyang somehow headed wide from point-blank range.

Any illusion of Napoli getting through was ended on the stroke of half-time, when they failed to clear a corner and Pique scuffed a left-footed shot past Meret.

Barca’s dominance was such that when Aubameyang ended a long spell of possession, and away fan ‘oles’, with a classy finish the Napoli supporters applauded.

The away section garnered more appreciation from their hosts when they started chanting anti-Juventus songs, but the rest of the match was played out in an eerie silence.

The home fans started streaming for the exits with over 10 minutes left as Barca contented themselves by stroking the ball around, and Politano’s nicely-taken consolation goal drew little more than a polite ripple from a long-since beaten crowd.

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