Napoli 2-4 Barcelona (agg: 3-5): Visitors cruise through
Thursday, February 24, 2022
Four superb goals helped Barcelona see of Napoli and reach the round of 16.
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8': Jordi Alba finishes breakaway move
13': De Jong adds superb second
23': Insigne pulls one back from spot
45': Piqué scores fine third
59': Aubameyang makes it four
87': Politano with late consolation
Match in brief: Barcelona cruise through
Barcelona put on an exhibition of fine goals to make it through to the UEFA Europa League round of 16. They got the ball rolling with a superb breakaway, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Adama Traoré combining to set up Jordi Alba to finish just 11 seconds after a Napoli corner.
Frenkie de Jong then curled in a stunning second, before Lorenzo Insigne pulled one back from the penalty spot after Marc-André ter Stegen had fouled Victor Osimhen.
But Gerard Piqué's calm finish made it 3-1 before the break, and Aubameyang added a fourth with a superb shot at the end of a flowing team move. Matteo Politano got another back for Napoli late on but it was too little, too late for the home side.
Paolo Menicucci, Napoli reporter
After the good performance in the first leg, many believed that Napoli had a great chance to qualify. Barcelona, however, had different plans. The visitors dominated the entire game, creating plenty of opportunities to score and exposing Napoli’s problems in midfield, where the difference was huge tonight. Barcelona scored four. It could have easily been more.
Graham Hunter, Barcelona reporter
The shock waves from this win will be huge – in Barcelona let alone anywhere else. Xavi recently said that his first 100 days in charge had felt like 100 years. Well, now, perhaps he feels that the weight of the job he's been charged with hangs a little less heavy on those shoulders? This wasn't an identikit of how Barcelona played with Xavi in their midfield – more direct, deadlier on the counter. But boy, it was thrilling.
Jordi Alba, Barcelona defender: “I think we played a great game. We are on a great run of results and play. In the end we conceded too many but well, we have to be happy and move on. Those were four very nice goals but what matters is that they go in! We have to believe in ourselves. Playing like this will bring great results.”
Xavi Hernández, Barcelona coach: “Perhaps this was the most complete performance of our season. We wanted to dominate and we did. I’m happy about the effort we put in and with the football we played. The result is fair. I am very happy for the players and this is the way forward. We are on the right road."
Matteo Politano, Napoli forward: "We complicated our lives by ourselves with a terrible start and by conceding two early goals. When you face a team like Barcelona, who keep the ball so well, it becomes very difficult to come back in the game. We managed with Insigne's penalty but then we then conceded a naive goal."
Carles Puyol, former Barcelona defender
"What I'm clear about, watching this match, is that I love the way my team is playing and that they are going to bring many more happy nights sooner rather than later."
- Frenkie de Jong scored his first goal in UEFA club competiton on his 47th appearance.
- Barcelona have scored in their last 14 matches in all competitions.
- Napoli had only lost one of their previous ten games at home to Spanish sides (W3 D6).
Napoli: Meret; Di Lorenzo, Koulibaly, Rrahmani, Mário Rui; Fabián Ruiz (Ghoulam 74), Demme (Politano 46); Elmas, Zieliński (Mertens 73), Insigne (Petagna 81); Osimhen (Ounas 74).
Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Dest, Piqué, Araújo, Alba; Busquets (Gavi 62), F de Jong, Pedri (González 75); Traoré (Dembélé 75), Aubameyang (L de Jong 75), Ferran Torres (Puig 81).