Napoli vs Barcelona – Context
Gennaro Gattuso’s side who have steadily recovered in Serie A, in last month, to move to sixth position from bottom-half of the table, are fighting for Champions League place next year. On the other hand Barcelona is at the top of the table after there rival Real Madrid slipped last weekend.
Maradona, who played for Barcelona and is remembered for representing Napoli, hoped Napoli to succeed. “I hope he doesn’t play a great game against Napoli,” Maradona commented on Messi. “I have given everything to Napoli, and Napoli has given everything to me, showing its affection,” he said.
Napoli vs Barcelona – Goals
The match has been dull, as it was being played box-to-box, with Barcelona having no real teeth to cut through Napoli defence.
- Zelinski robbed Firpo the ball at Barcelona mid-field position and moved through the right flank, before crossing from the top of the box. Lorenzo Insigne allowed the ball to move to Mertens, who had two touches and the ball find top-right corner of the net. Marc ter Stegen did not have a chance to stop.
- Lorenzo Insigne lost the possession of the ball to Sergio Busquets, who provided an incisive pass to Semedo at right flank. Griezmann had been unimpressive before that, but did not make any mistake to tap the ball inside from Semedo cross. This happened very fast, and Insigne and his team were asking for foul against Busquets, but referee ignored the appeal and allowed to continue the play.
What score-board won’t tell
- After the break, Mertens got injured in a tussle with Busquets and was replaced by Arkadiusz Milik.
- Lorenzo Insigne almost provided Napoli 2-1 lead, when he cut into Barca Penalty area, and he was denied by Marc ter Stegen, when Umtiti allowed the ball to move into between his two legs.
- Messi was booked, when he unintentionally run into Napoli goalkeeper Ospina. Though Ospina was hit by Messi’s shoe, he continued after initial treatment.
- Gerard Pique, the centre-back hurt his ankle at dying moments of the match and was replaced by Clément Lenglet.
- Barcelona had total 2 ‘shots-on target’ in the match.
Result and Conclusion
- Barcelona will not be able to field Sergio Busquets and Arturo Vidal in the return-leg match at home as they have multiple booking.whereas Napoli would not have that restriction.
- Dries Mertens became the joint-top goalscorer in Napoli’s history when he found the net against Barcelona on Tuesday, both are at 121 goals each, followed by Diego Maradona with 115 goals.
- Barcelona are already without Luis Suarez, Ousmane Dembele, Jordi Alba and Sergi Roberto due to injury, meaning Quique Setien is short of options for the second leg.
- Gerard Pique, the centre-back hurt his ankle late on in the clash at Napoli and looks to be a doubt for the trip to Madrid.
We don’t have a deep squad because, unfortunately, that’s how it was planned.Sergio Busquets, Barcelona
Since Setien arrived, they systematically push five or six players into attack, they don’t just pass and that’s it… They force you to defend deep and we had to play like that, because if there were spaces back there, they could really hurt us.Gennaro Gattuso, Napoli Coach
I think they barely grazed us tonight, they hardly had a single shot on goal. They could’ve been there all night and not scored, but we conceded after one single error. They didn’t hurt us, it barely tickled.Gennaro Gattuso, Napoli Coach
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