Napoli 1-1 Barcelona: Draw at intense first leg for Partenopei

Last Updated on 22/02/2024 by

Napoli and Barcelona played to a 1-1 draw in Wednesday night’s first leg of their Champions League last-16 match in Naples. Robert Lewandowski scored the first goal, but Victor Osimhen equalized for Napoli.

Just before the half-hour mark, Lewandowski calmly put Barcelona ahead. However, Osimhen equalized just fifteen minutes later, leaving the tie in a precarious position leading up to the second leg in Spain on March 12.

napoli vs barcelona

The matchup included the reigning Italian and Spanish champions, but neither team has been able to get off the ground this season. Italy is in ninth place in Serie A, while Spain is in third place in La Liga, eight points behind Real Madrid.

Despite his unhappiness with the team’s performance as a whole, Napoli’s new manager Francesco Calzona was on the sidelines and likely relished the opportunity to claim a draw.

In the fourth minute, Barcelona had their first half-chance of the match, but Lamine Yamal, who was 16 years old, had a persistent effort that went past the Napoli crossbar.

The Catalan team took the lead in the opening exchanges, and in the ninth minute, Yamal—the youngest player in Champions League history to reach the knockout stage—was engaged once again. However, Napoli goalkeeper Alex Meret made a great save from the Spain international’s left-footed shot.

In the 14th minute, after being discovered by Pedri, the seasoned forward Lewandowski tried his luck, but his effort went into the sidenetting. At that point, the game belonged to Barcelona.

In the 22nd minute, Meret once again rescued Napoli by denying Lewandowski. He then denied Ilkay Gundogan, as the home team struggled to pose a threat.

In the 33rd minute, Lewandowski missed the target with a snapshot following a free kick by Gundogan, but Napoli improved their possession play in the last minutes of the first half.

The fact that the Italian champions failed to register a single shot in the first half was indicative of their difficulties; however, they wasted less than a minute of the second half to take a shot, and Matteo Politano missed the target with his header.

In the 49th minute, Gundogan was denied by Meret’s excellent stop. Despite this, Barcelona persisted in creating opportunities, and the breakthrough arrived on the hour when Lewandowski collected a pass from Pedri and finished with conviction into the bottom corner.

The 66th minute saw Pedri try his luck from the edge of the Napoli box with a rasping strike, but Meret made an awkward stop to keep Barcelona from scoring a quick-fire second.

Osimhen suddenly sprang to life in the 75th minute, turning Inigo Martinez inside the Barcelona box and blasting past goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen to set off celebratory scenes inside the famed stadium, bringing Napoli level with Barcelona.

It would have been unfair on the La Liga winners, Napoli, to put Barcelona on the defensive so soon after they took the lead, given their performance that night.

The match ended in a draw as Anguissa missed a header in the 85th minute and Giovanni Simeone had a late chance, but Gundogan missed a wonderful opportunity in the dying seconds from outside the box.


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