Barcelona sends Napoli Packing from the Europa League with a convincing 4-2 Victory in Naples


By Mukwuzi Joseph

Barcelona turned in a vintage display to beat Napoli 4-2 in their Europa League playoff second leg at the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium on Thursday to advance to the round of 16 by an aggregate score of 5-3.

The visitors wasted little time in taking the lead, with Jordi Alba finishing off a rapid-fire counter-attack in the eighth minute of the game. Frenkie de Jong then curled in an absolute beauty from a distance that left Napoli’s Alex Meret rooted to the spot to give Barcelona a 2-0 cushion before 15 minutes.

Napoli found a way back into the game after VAR ruled that Marc-Andre ter Stegen fouled Victor Osimhen in the area and Lorenzo Insigne scored the resulting spot-kick to breathe new life into the home fans.

But Barca struck again before half-time through Gerard Pique. The center-back settled a ball in front of the goal before firing past Napoli goalkeeper Alex Meret to restore Xavi’s side to a two-goal lead after an enthralling opening 45 minutes.

Aubameyang erased any hopes of a comeback from Napoli as he curled a first-time shot into the upper right corner from a pass across the box by Adama Traore.

The hosts managed to score a consolation goal just before full-time through Matteo Politano, but it was too little too late for the Naples side, whose European campaign came to an end on a night when Barcelona was simply the better team.

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