Barcelona counts Napoli out before half-time and smoothly punches …

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Barcelona still had a tough time at the end of February during the first leg in Naples, but almost six months later the Blaugrana won the return leg of the eighth finals of the Champions League quite easily. Barcelona scored three times before the break and counted Napoli completely: it became 3-1 in Camp Nou. Dries Mertens played the entire game with the visitors.

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Dries Mertens scored the only goal for Napoli in the first leg (final score 1-1) and was allowed to try to repeat that on Saturday evening in Camp Nou. The Red Devil started the match in the base, but saw how Barcelona immediately took control… and took the lead after barely ten minutes. Clement Lenglet did need some pushing and pulling for that, but he headed the opening goal past Ospina: 1-0.

Messi also scores

Napoli had no answer and had to undergo the game in Catalonia. Barcelona meanwhile pushed through and was rewarded halfway through the first half with a hit by Lionel Messi. A dribble towards sixteen and a fine finish in the far corner: it didn’t take more than that to put the 2-0 on the tables. Messi scored a second time in the half hour, but saw that goal be rejected after intervention of the VAR because of hands.

Photo: AP

The VAR kept Barcelona from the 3-0, but a little later Barcelona had the VAR luck on its side when Messi was kicked in the penalty area by Kalidou Koulibaly (ex-Genk) just before half-time. Referee Cüneyt Çakir looked at the images and after a long time came to the conclusion that a penalty could be awarded for that foul. Suarez gratefully accepted the gift: 3-0.

Insignia brings hope

The game seemed over, but Barcelona could not rest on their laurels yet. After all, in the 5th minute of extra time for the break, Dries Mertens also decorated a penalty for Napoli. Lorenzo Insigne took his responsibility and worked the 3-1 in, giving the Italians another lifeline for the second half.

Barcelona counts Napoli out before half-time and smoothly pushes through to the Champions League quarter-finals
Dries Mertens did not score against Barcelona.
Photo: AFP

Napoli started the second half with renewed courage, but could not find holes in the Barcelona block. The Italians did not get further than some corners and two headers from Insigne and Lozano. Until the 80th minute: Milik scored the connection goal for Napoli, but saw it rejected due to offside. Barcelona could therefore breathe a sigh of relief and did not run into problems in the remaining minutes.

In the quarter-finals, Barcelona can take on Bayern Munich, which canned Chelsea in their own Allianz Arena on Saturday evening.

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