Barcelona sweep past Napoli to reach Champions League quarter-finals

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Barcelona are through to the Champions League quarter-finals after a 3-1 victory over Napoli on Tuesday night.

A 1-1 draw in Naples was a positive result for Barcelona heading into the second-leg of their Champions League tie with the defending Italian champions.

Given their patchy recent form domestically, Xavi Hernandez was hoping for a fast start to put the hosts in a position of control in the tie, and that is exactly what he got.

The Blaugrana were 2-0 up inside 17 minutes of play, with Raphinha providing the assist for both strikes.

The first of these two goals came through Fermin Lopez, who has been in brilliant form, as the Brazilian played a pass to him inside the penalty area and he cooly placed the ball into the bottom corner.

Raphinha could have then turned goalscorer with a shot from inside the penalty area which struck the outside of the right post. From the resultant throw-in, Raphinha got the last touch in a bit of scrappy move with the ball bobbling to Joao Cancelo, and he converted his shot into the middle of the goal.

Napoli were facing the unenviable task of needing to score two goals away from home, but the first came on the half-hour mark in the first-half.

It was a team goal that reminded you just why this team were able to be so successful under Luciano Spalletti last season.

Amir Rrahmani was eventually set free inside the box courtesy of Matteo Politano, and Rrahmani’s shot was expertly converted into the back of the net.

Napoli will be frustrated with missed chances

To say Barcelona’s defensive resolve was assured would be an exaggeration as Napoli looked to find an equalizer in the tie.

From the start of the second-half it was the Italian champions who were making all the chances and controlling the match.

First it was Khvicha Kvaratskhelia who steadied himself inside the penalty area before shooting wide, then it was Victor Osimhen who broke free and appeared to be brought down inside the area, but the referee waved away appeals.

Alberto EstevezEFE

Raphinha then forced a save out of Alex Meret, who brilliantly parried the ball away from danger, reminding Napoli of Barcelona’s effectiveness on the break.

Lamine Yamal thought he scored a decisive goal, but it was chalked off for offside.

This tie-killing goal did eventually come through Robert Lewandowski as Napoli threw players forward in search of an equalizer.

Sergi Roberto played a pass towards the Polish forward, who had an easy task of tapping the ball into an empty net, securing Barcelona’s place in the quarter-final.



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