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Barcelona v Napoli Live Commentary, 2/17/22

FT
1 - 1
BAR
NAP
Ferran Torres (59 pen)
P. Zieliński (29)
Camp Nou

Commentary

That's all from us, we hope you enjoyed the game. Until the next one, it's goodbye.
The second leg awaits for both sides, and with the scrapping of the away goals rule in this season's tournament, the 1-1 draw in Catalonia means it really is honours even when the two sides meet again in Naples. Napoli know they were lucky to escape this game with a draw, but they will fancy their chances at home against this Barca side, who are still finding their feet in Xavi's extensive rebuild of the club.
He may have scored Barcelona's equaliser from the penalty spot, but it was an inconsistent performance in front of goal from Ferran Torres. The former Manchester City man's goal was his only shot on target from NINE attempts, and although he did complete two key passes, he lost the ball a game-high 20 times. It's still early days, but his career at Camp Nou can only get better following performances of that calibre.
The match ends with the honours even, as despite the second half being one-way traffic, Barca couldn't add to Torres' equaliser and win the game! Napoli really began flagging in that second half, but they stayed firm at the back to go into the second leg level at 1-1! Barca will feel they should have won that game, and had their attack not been so blunt, they may well have.
90' + 9' FULL-TIME: BARCELONA 1-1 NAPOLI.
90' + 8' Fabian will not be coming back on, and having used all their allocated substitutes, Napoli will end the game with 10 men!
90' + 7' CHANCE! Pedri swings a deep cross towards De Jong, who beats Koulibaly to the ball but his header is easily saved by Meret!
90' + 6' Fabian gets to his feet wearing a comprehensive bandage, and the corner is overturned to give Napoli a free-kick instead.
90' + 5' Fabian is still down and it looks like this injury-time period will be extended further as Napoli's staff do their best to get him back to his feet.
90' + 3' Another wide ball allows Barca to cross into the area, but it's again dealt with by Napoli as Fabian heads the ball behind. It comes at a cost though, as Fabian clashes heads with Gavi and is down injured.
90' + 2' WIDE!!! Torres and De Jong play a great one-two in the box, but Torres slides in to hit the return ball and fires yet another effort wide of the target!
90' + 1' SAVED!!! Napoli race up the other end and Fabian crosses for Mertens. He hits one on the volley, but it's straight at Ter Stegen who saves with ease!
A. Meret
Yellow Card
Napoli
90' + 1' If Napoli weren't already happy with the draw, Meret makes it obvious by time-wasting at a goal kick to the extent that the referee books him!
Mário Rui
Yellow Card
Napoli
90' Yellow Card Mário Rui Silva Duarte
90' We'll play SIX more minutes of added time! Don't go anywhere!
90' WOW!!! Dembele flicks the ball forward for Dest to cross in, and he floats it high towards De Jong. The substitute unleashes a wild overhead kick, that just flies past the wrong side of the post!
89' CHANCE!!! Dembele engineers another glorious chance and crosses into the danger area. Meret tips the ball away as Torres slides in and collides with the post! Dembele has really silenced his doubters so far, but to no avail as of yet!
88' OVER!!! What a miss!! Dembele beats defender after defender before finding Pedri in the box. He backheels to Torres, who gets his placed finish all wrong as he blazes the ball well over the bar!! Time is running out for the hosts here!
L. de Jong
P. Aubameyang
Barcelona
85' Aubameyang is the next Barca attacker to be substituted, as he's replaced by Luuk de Jong, who scored a late equaliser against Espanyol in Barca's last league fixture.
Mário Rui
E. Elmas
Napoli
84' Elmas is also withdrawn by Spalletti, replaced by Mario Rui.
K. Malcuit
A. Zambo Anguissa
Napoli
84' Anguissa's run his blood to water in this game, and is finally brought off for Kevin Malcuit.
83' Although they have brought on substitutes, Napoli are really starting to fall off the pace in this game. Their midfield looks leggy despite the changes, but it's yet to be breached again by a far more energetic Barca attack.
S. Dest
Óscar Mingueza
Barcelona
81' The impressive Mingueza is replaced by fellow right-back Sergino Dest.
D. Demme
P. Zieliński
Napoli
80' Zielinski did shake off that earlier knock, but is withdrawn for Diego Demme late on for Napoli.
D. Mertens
V. Osimhen
Napoli
80' Osimhen's been lively with little end product, and is replaced by Dries Mertens for Napoli.
79' A long ball forward aims to put Gavi in behind, but he catches Koulibaly from behind accidentally and concedes the free-kick.
78' Aubameyang clips a lovely ball forward for Torres with the outside of his foot, but the winger's cross is headed clear by Di Lorenzo for Napoli.
76' Barca counter through Aubameyang, who strides forward into the box. He plays it to Dembele on the opposite side of the area, but the substitute's left-footed shot is blocked away by Jesus.
74' Dembele's corner misses the wild high foot of Torres, but Alba follows in with an even worse effort that clears the crossbar by some distance!
72' CHANCE!!! Dembele flies forward down the right, looking to find Aubameyang in the middle. He puts in a good cross, but Rrahmani slides in to knock the ball behind with a last-ditch effort!
A. Ounas
L. Insigne
Napoli
72' Napoli captain Insigne is withdrawn by Luciano Spalletti, and is replaced by Adam Ounas.
Fabián Ruiz
Yellow Card
Napoli
70' Fabian and Busquets collide near the Barca box, and the Napoli midfielder is penalised. He did look to be pulling out of that challenge, but the referee showed him the yellow regardless.
69' Mingueza has been very busy down the right for Barca, being involved in more duels than any other player. He's also made six tackles and two clearances, as well as putting in a good cross from open play.
67' The introduction of those three substitutes should add some much-needed spruce to a Barca attack which, despite having improved and levelled the scoreline, is still looking somewhat rusty.
Sergio Busquets
F. de Jong
Barcelona
65' Sergio Busquets will also enter the fray in Barca's third change, replacing De Jong in midfield.
O. Dembélé
Adama Traoré
Barcelona
65' Traore is also brought off by Xavi, being replaced by Ousmane Dembele.
Gavi
Nico González
Barcelona
65' Nico's been really, really impressive in this game, and is replaced by another youngster in the form of Gavi.
63' WIDE!!! A good ball wide is picked up by Aubameyang, who runs right at Rrahmani on the edge of the box. He opens his sights and shoots, but can't quite curl the ball inside the far post!
62' Fabian sends Osimhen flying towards goal with the ball, but is at too tight an angle to shoot. He crosses at pace, but it only finds Mingueza, who heads the ball clear of danger.
60' Aubameyang turns and heads towards goal, feeding Traore. He looks to find his striker with a return ball but takes far too long, eventually sending the ball Meret's way with the weakest of efforts.
Ferran Torres
Penalty Goal
Barcelona
59' GOAL!!! Barca level the scores! Torres, who's looked to be very short on confidence tonight, steps up and dispatches the penalty with ease, sending Meret the wrong way to lock us up at 1-1!
57' We're off to VAR, as that deflection from Traore's cross looks to have struck the arm of Jesus. The referee goes for another look, and points to the spot! It looks like a soft penalty, but Torres will step up regardless!
56' Traore is put into space down the right by Nico, but a lack of options in Napoli's box sees him fire his cross straight into the arms of Meret, after a deflection off Jesus.
54' OVER!! Aubameyang drops deep to collect, does so, and drives towards goal. He shoots from the edge of the area, but a nick off Rrahmani sends the ball looping over the bar for a Barca corner!
53' Alba cuts inside to feed Nico, who turns and shoots. His low, drilled effort is on target but is nothing Meret can't handle as he holds the shot easily.
52' Pedri finds Aubameyang in the crowded Napoli box, but the striker hesitates to shoot and is dispossessed by Rrahmani!
51' Osimhen races forward on the counter alone, burning past Alba and Pique before looking to cross from the goal-line. He overhits it wildly, but that run from deep has really alleviated the pressure on his team-mates!
50' Barca are camped in Napoli territory at the moment, but other than an individual run here and there, there's very little end product from the hosts. The attacks are slow and disjointed, and anything but penetrative.
48' Insigne cuts inside from the left with options, but the Napoli captain instead shoots, producing a poor lofted effort that Meret easily catches.
46' Aubameyang puts Torres into a gaping hole straight away, but in flies Di Lorenzo to slide the ball out of the Barca winger's feet and away!
46' Aubameyang kicks off the second half, and we're back under way at Camp Nou!
The two sides re-enter the pitch for the second half, and the home crowd will want to see a significant improvement from Xavi's men in order to get back into this tie.
Koulibaly has been the dictionary definition of 'solid' so far, snuffing out Barca's attacks time after time, having made five clearances and won all of his duels. If Barca are to claw their way back into the game, they'll have to get past the Africa Cup of Nations Champion.
Napoli end the first half one goal to the good, and although Barca have had a plethora of attacks, their disjointed forages forward have yielded very little in the way of success, and the lack of chemistry between Traore, Aubameyang and Torres is really showing at the moment. Zielinski's rebounded opener was Napoli's only real chance of the half, but unlike the hosts, they were able to make it count.
45' + 2' Traore beats two down the right before crossing from the byline, but Anguissa meets the ball before any Barca attackers and hoofs it clear!
45' + 2' HALF-TIME: BARCELONA 0-1 NAPOLI.
45' + 1' We're into two minutes of stoppage time at the end of this first half.
45' WIDE!!! Mingueza gets space on the edge of the area and crosses, finding the head of Torres. The winger looks to power his effort into the top corner, but again sees the ball fly wide of the goal!
44' Osimhen had scored four goals in just 168 minutes of play time in the Europa League this season, scoring in each of his last three games in the competition despite not starting two of them. Coming into this tussle, he was averaging a goal every 42 minutes, the best rate of any player to have scored at least two goals in the competition this season.
43' Jesus looks to pick out Osimhen on the run, but the Napoli forward is miles offside from his starting position alone! That's already the second time he's been offside, albeit he was only caught once.
41' Pedri's caught late again, this time by Zielinski, as the Napoli goalscorer drags the Spain midfielder's legs out from underneath him and concedes the free-kick.
40' Rrahmani's short backpass to Meret almost goes horribly wrong with Aubameyang just inches away from stealing the ball, but the Napoli keeper hoofs it clear right at the last opportunity!
A. Zambo Anguissa
Yellow Card
Napoli
39' The first yellow card of the game does come, after Anguissa catches Nico very late, but not as late as Torres' prior challenge!
38' Torres slides into Di Lorenzo very, very late, and avoids a booking somehow. That looked nailed on to be the first booking of the game.
37' Barca continually look to attack, having six shots to Napoli's three, and have also had 58 per cent of possession so far, but each and every time the visitors have plenty of men back to snuff the hosts out, nullifying in particular the pace of the front three.
36' Nico feeds Torres wide to the left, and the winger, signed from Manchester City in early January, again drags a poor, poor shot wide. The front three really aren't firing for the hosts, yet.
34' Barcelona have lost three of their last five home games in major European competition, as many defeats as they had suffered across their previous 74 such matches (excluding qualifiers).
32' Rrahmani is dispossessed easily by Aubameyang, who feeds Torres. Barca look to have a two-on-one, but once again Koulibaly arrives to tackle the winger and recover the ball for Napoli! It's been a one-man show at the back from the Senegal defender so far.
31' It means slightly less with no away goals in this year's competition, but that's still a massive, massive goal in the context of this tie, and Barca have it all to do!
P. Zieliński
Goal
Napoli
29' GOOOAAALLLL!!! Napoli silence Camp Nou!!! The visitors race up the other end of the pitch, and Elmas sets up Zielinski inside the area. His first shot is saved well by Ter Stegen, but the Poland midfielder follows in quickest to smash the ball into the top of the net!!! 1-0 to Napoli and Barca are up against it now!
28' WIDE!!! Barca come forward again as Aubameyang sets up Torres. With the goal at his mercy, the winger fluffs his effort, which flies high and wide of Meret's goal!
27' Insigne and Fabian do brilliantly to one-two their way out of trouble after recovering the ball near their own corner flag. Fabian looks to counter but is tackled; however, that was one hell of an effort to escape that area of the field.
25' Mingueza nips in to knock the ball Traore's way inside the Napoli box. He squares to Pedri, but the young midfielder can't control the pass, allowing Napoli to clear but only as far as Nico!
23' SAVED!!! Barca break from the corner as Pedri puts Traore through on goal. He's about to pull the trigger before Koulibaly slides in to knock the ball away! Aubameyang recovers it, but Meret saves his tame effort! It's pulled back as Traore was offside, but that was a lightning-quick counter-attack from the hosts!
22' SAVED!!! Napoli break through Osimhen, who is put in behind Pique. He shoots from a tight angle on the left, forcing Ter Stegen to save with his legs and concede the corner!
22' The hosts are almost gifted a chance by Napoli's careless passing out from their defence, but Koulibaly intervenes to stop the Barca attack in its tracks.
20' Napoli have lost each of their last four away games in the knockout stages of major European competitions, with one of those defeats coming against Barcelona in the 2019-20 Champions League.
18' WIDE!!! Nico feeds Aubameyang on the edge of the area, and the former Arsenal striker's shot just scrapes the outside of the post with Meret unmoved!
16' Koulibaly tries a long diagonal ball for his captain to run onto, but Ter Stegen is well out of his goal to gather the cross ahead of the inbound Insigne.
15' SAVED!!! Aubameyang feeds Alba on the left, who crosses into the box. There's a few bouncing efforts, but the ball eventually is picked up by Nico, who drives down the right before shooting and drawing a good save from Meret!
13' A slight mix-up in the Barca rearguard as Ter Stegen and Alba almost collide going for the same ball. Alba does clear it, but his goalkeeper argues that the ball should've been his.
11' It's been rather cagey so far, and the key battle has emerged to be within the midfield. Both sides' three-man midfields are looking to link up, but each time they're neutralised by the opposition.
9' Garcia catches Zielinski very late on halfway, and is quite lucky to avoid the first booking of the match.
8' A clever turn and pass from Mingueza almost frees up space for Traore to run into, but Koulibaly arrives on the scene to clean up for Napoli.
7' The only previous meeting between these sides in major European competition saw Barcelona eliminate the Italians at the last-16 stage of the Champions League in 2019-20. The first leg finished 1-1 in Naples before Barcelona won the second leg 3-1 at Camp Nou.
5' OVER!!! Brilliant Barca pressing, led by Aubameyang, forces Napoli to give up possession on the edge of their own box. It falls to Pedri on the edge of the area, who blazes his effort just over the bar!
4' Excluding qualifiers, the Supercup and the Club World Cup, each of Barcelona’s last 191 games in European competition have been in the UEFA Champions League, with this their first match in Europe’s secondary competition since 2003-04, when they were eliminated by Celtic in the UEFA Cup. Their manager Xavi started both legs.
2' Traore looks to cut inside Jesus but ends up sandwiched between the Napoli left-back and his team-mate Koulibaly. The Barca winger appeals for a free-kick, but the referee ignores his pleas.
1' Omishen kicks off for Napoli, and this eagerly anticipated clash is under way!
The teams head out onto the Camp Nou pitch, and although the Europa League knockouts are relatively alien to the home crowd, this should still be one hell of a game!
Four of Victor Osimhen’s 10 goals this season came in Napoli’s Europa League group stage campaign, and he will be aiming to add to his tally on one of world football’s biggest stages in this game.
Barcelona’s three major January signings spearhead their attack in this game, with Wolves loanee Adama Traore on the right lank, next to permanent signings Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, making his full Barca debut, and Ferran Torres respectively.
NAPOLI SUBS: David Ospina, Kevin Malcuit, Diego Demme, Mario Rui, Dries Mertens, Hubert Dawid Idasiak, Faouzi Ghoulam, Adam Ounas, Andrea Petagna, Alessandro Zanoli.
NAPOLI (4-2-3-1): Alex Meret; Giovanni Di Lorenzo, Kalidou Koulibaly, Amir Rrahmani, Juan Jesus; Fabian Ruiz, Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa; Eljif Elmas, Piotr Zielinski, Lorenzo Insigne; Victor Osimhen.
BARCELONA SUBS: Neto, Sergino Dest, Sergio Busquets, Riqui Puig, Ousmane Dembele, Martin Braithwaite, Luuk de Jong, Gavi, Arnau Tenas.
BARCELONA (4-3-3): Marc-Andre ter Stegen; Oscar Mingueza, Gerard Pique, Eric Garcia, Jordi Alba; Frenkie de Jong, Nico Gonzalez, Pedri; Adama Traore, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Ferran Torres.
Napoli didn’t have the end to the Europa League group stage they’d have wanted, being pipped to first place by Spartak Moscow on the balance of their head-to-head record with the Russian side.
It’s Barca’s first Europa League tie since way back in 2003-04, when this was known as the UEFA Cup. This season, they were eliminated from the Champions League after finishing behind both Bayern Munich and Benfica in their group.
Hello, and welcome to live coverage of this fixture in the UEFA Europa League knockout stages, between Barcelona and Napoli from Camp Nou.