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Monday, April 22, 2024

Barcelona Wins Against Napoli to Return to the Champions League Quarterfinals

<p>Barcelona defeated Napoli 3-1 on Tuesday and advanced to the Champions League quarterfinals 4-2 overall, despite a nervous second half.</p>
<p><img decoding=”async” class=”alignnone wp-image-502548″ src=”https://www.theindiaprint.com/wp-content/uploads/2024/03/theindiaprint.com-barcelona-wins-against-napoli-to-return-to-the-champions-league-quarterfinals-serg.jpg” alt=”theindiaprint.com barcelona wins against napoli to return to the champions league quarterfinals serg” width=”983″ height=”737″ title=”Barcelona Wins Against Napoli to Return to the Champions League Quarterfinals 6″></p>
<p>Fermin Lopez and Joao Cancelo gave Xavi Hernandez’s team the early lead, but the Catalans began to perspire when Amir Rrahmani equalized.</p>
<p>After surviving a 1-1 draw in the first leg of the round of 16, Italian champions Napoli were ultimately defeated by Robert Lewandowski’s close-range strike.</p>
<p>Barcelona, the five-time champions, have not advanced beyond the round of eight in the tournament since 2020, and they accomplished this feat without the injured midfield trio of Pedri, Gavi, and Frenkie de Jong.</p>
<p>“Now is the time to relish the fact that, after four years, we are in the Champions League quarterfinals,” Barca head coach Xavi said to Movistar.</p>
<p>“The squad gave it their all, we controlled the game in many areas, and we played a terrific game. I’m quite proud of myself.</p>
<p>After Xavi announced in January that he was leaving the squad at the conclusion of the season, his team went on a nine-game winning streak.</p>
<p>Teenage players Pau Cubarsi and Lamine Yamal have been essential to that form, and they both performed well against Napoli on a night that gave Barcelona some much-needed solace in the midst of a dismal season.</p>
<p>The 17-year-old center defender, Cubarsi, defeated the attacker, Victor Osimhen of Napoli.</p>
<p>Sergi Roberto said of the game’s greatest player, Movistar: “He’s incredible.”</p>
<p>He has been shocking us for the last 16 games, and from the look of things, he is a player who will be around for a very long time.</p>
<p>In a knockout stage match, Barcelona became the first team in the competition’s history to start two players who were 17 years of age or younger.</p>
<p>Xavi insisted that the spectators make their makeshift house on the Montjuic hill in the city into a pressure cooker, and they dutifully complied. The crowd of almost 50,000 people was the highest for the club this season.</p>
<p>Napoli under Francesco Calzona withered away as the Spanish champions stormed out of the starting blocks.</p>
<p><strong>– Quick start</strong></p>
<p>Electric Yamal, a 16-year-old winger, made significant progress down the right before Lopez’s brilliant goal after 15 minutes.</p>
<p>Lopez tucked the ball in after Cancelo feed Raphinha, who cut the ball back into the box.</p>
<p>Although he may not have Pedri’s metronomic accuracy, the midfield player has energy and an unquenchable need for goals.</p>
<p>After two minutes, the visitors were left stunned as the Catalans increased their advantage by two goals. Yamal initiated the counterattack by breaking free in his own half.</p>
<p>The Brazilian struck the post during the winger’s game in Raphinha, but Cancelo was there to roll in the rebound.</p>
<p>When Matteo Politano in from the right, Ronald Araujo played him onside as Napoli fought their way back in.</p>
<p>The winger from Italy squared the ball for Rrahmani, who finished neatly to give Napoli a point again.</p>
<p>Shortly after, Napoli was on pace to tie the score, but Barcelona goalie Marc-Andre ter Stegen produced an incredible save by blocking Giovanni Di Lorenzo’s header.</p>
<p>With Barcelona pushed back into their own half and haphazardly clearing the ball, the Italians got off to a solid start in the second half.</p>
<p>Xavi moved to invigorate the midfield and give his squad a boost by substituting Sergi Roberto and Oriol Romeu for Andreas Christensen and Lopez.</p>
<p>Alex Meret made stops from Raphinha and Lewandowski before Yamal hit from close range, but his shot was offside.</p>
<p>Jesper Lindstrom, a Danish winger, missed a close opportunity to score for Napoli before Lewandowski, assisted by Ilkay Gundogan and Sergi Roberto, won the match.</p>
<p>“We nearly equalized and performed well at times,” Calzona said to Sky Sport in Italy.</p>
<p>“Obviously, losing indicates that something didn’t work.”</p>
<p>Although Barcelona’s second-half nerves revealed they are far from their past brilliance, they still have enough talent in Yamal, Raphinha, and Cancelo to pose a threat to any future opponent in the quarterfinals.</p>
<p>Sergi Roberto said, “It was an amazing night. (It’s been) four years without getting where we belong, where the club deserves to be.”</p>

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