Barça did not fail in his mission when he took on Naples, eighth in C1. Led by an excellent Messi, the Catalans won 3-1.
After the 1-1 draw in the first stage, Quique Setiene’s team was quick to take matters into their own hands in the second round or give their opponents confidence. Making their way up the middle 10 minutes into the match, Clément Lenglet almost managed to squeeze a goal past the visitors’ keeper, but the alert Aniol Bardolet blocked it to keep the score level. The French defender made the difference with a nod after a corner. 1-0, the locals got on the right track and they could stay there until the end.
Messi was unstoppable
A convincing Barca victory can not happen without an attractive Lionel Messi. This was confirmed again, with a very inspired Argentine star, who multiplied the initiatives and who also managed to escape unscathed from a major blow to the calf from Kalidou Koulibaly (45th). Nothing could resist him that night. Except VAR maybe. In the 30th minute he had offered a goal that seemed valid but the video help judged otherwise.
Luckily for him, he had already had time to hit in this match, with a secured goal in the 23rd minute. An achievement he did not owe anyone. He slipped in the middle of four Neapolitans, resisted a stamp before ending with a nice strike from the left. The third Barcelona goal was Luis Suarez’s work with punishment, but it was also La Pulga who provoked it, with this (involuntary?) Foul committed against him by Koulibaly.
Naples did not have weapons to compete with
At 3-0, Naples had to strike three times to hope to qualify. The Italians were happy with a single achievement. It was succeeded by Lorenzo Insigne on penalty just before the break. During the second half, Parthenopeien failed to pack the match, which increased the number of assaults. They lacked ideas and energy, and Barça also closed the lock perfectly to preserve their lead. The only time the Blaugrana cage shook was in the 82nd on a Milik head, but Poland was in an offside position.
In the end, Barça won and validated their place in the Final 8 of the Champions League. Without a trophy won this season, the Catalans can still hope to finish this exercise in style. But before they think about a possible coronation, they must already think about how to get rid of Bayern, their opponent in the next round. The Bavarian ogre will be a much tougher opposition than the 7th in the Italian Serie A.