Barcelona will face Bayern Munich in a blockbuster Champions League quarter final after the Catalans claimed a 3-1 (4-2 on aggregate) victory over Napoli in a chaotic last 16 second leg at Camp Nou.
Quique Setien’s side, and the head coach himself, came into this match under pressure having conceded their Spanish Liga crown to Real Madrid just a few weeks ago, but Barca kept alive their hopes of European salvation with this result.
Napoli started strongly, but it was Barca who opened the scoring through a Clement Lenglet header after 10 minutes, with Lionel Messi doubling his side’s advantage with a trademark dribble and left-foot finish not long after.
Messi looked to have scored a second only for VAR to harshly chalk a goal off for handball. However, the Argentine won a penalty after some sloppy defending by Kalidou Koulibaly, giving Luis Suarez the chance to convert from the spot.
The Italians gave themselves a lifeline at the end of the first half, with Lorenzo Insigne stroking home from the spot after a foul by Ivan Rakitic, and threatened early on in the second half, but dug themselves too big a hole as Barca secured their passage into the final eight.
TALKING POINT - Barca win, but their flaws were on show for all to see
The scoreline suggests this was comfortable for Barcelona. The reality, however, was something very different. Setien and his players are into the quarter finals, where they will face Bayern Munich next week, with the Catalans just too strong for Napoli in the attacking third, but their flaws and vulnerabilities were still on show for all to see. Bayern Munich will plenty to exploit.
MAN OF THE MATCH - Frenkie de Jong (Barcelona)
With Sergio Busquets and Arturo Vidal out for Barcelona, Setien turned to Frenkie de Jong to play a more important role in the centre of the pitch. While Barca lost their grip of the contest in the second half, the Dutch midfielder was the only one seemingly capable of controlling things. Indeed, de Jong was the best Barcelona player on the pitch. Why hasn’t he been used more effectively this season?
Barcelona - Ter Stegen 5, Semedo 5, Pique 6, Lenglet 7, Alba 6, Rakitic 7, Roberto 6, De Jong 8, Suarez 6, Griezmann 5, Messi 8. Subs - Monchu 5, Firpo 3.
Napoli - Ospina 6, Di Lorenzo 5, Koulibaly 4, Manolas 6, Rui 6, Ruiz 7, Demme 5, Ziellinski 6, Callejon 5, Mertens 6, Insigne 7. Subs - Milik 6, Lobotka 5, Politano 7, Lozano 7, Elmas 5.
Barcelona's French defender Clement Lenglet (C) celebrates with Barcelona's Argentine forward Lionel Messi (R) and Barcelona's Uruguayan forward Luis Suarez (R) after scoring a goal during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg football match be
Image credit: Getty Images
2’ Off the outside of the post! Napoli come so close to finding an early opener! Mertens was presented with the shooting opportunity inside the box, but he slices it and the ball comes off the woodwork!
10’ GOAL! Barcelona 1-0 Napoli: The goal comes against the run of play, but Barcelona have the opener! Rakitic's corner kick delivery was a good one, Lenglet was completely free in the middle and the Frenchman made no mistake in powering home a header past Ospina!
24’ GOAL! Barcelona 2-0 Napoli: Brilliant! What a goal from Messi! It seemed that the opportunity had gone after he tripped inside the area after dribbling past three, but he gets back up and curls a left-footed strike past Ospina and into the far corner!
30’ GOOOOOOO… NO! This tie looked to be as good as over, with Messi chesting down a de Jong pass at the back post to clip a tidy finish over Ospina, but a VAR check shows the ball brushed the Argentine’s arm and it doesn’t stand.
41’ Messi is down! There's a lot to unpack here! Messi got to a ball before Koulibaly inside the box, he gets clobbered. He is hurt and needs some treatment, but could this be a penalty kick?
44’ PENALTY KICK TO BARCELONA! Four minutes after the incident, the referee points to the spot after what was a clear foul by Koulibaly on Messi.
45’ GOAL! Barcelona 3-0 Napoli: This time, the fourth Barcelona goal counts and it's Suarez who finishes from the penalty spot, sending Ospina the wrong way. Messi is still hurting from the foul by Koulibaly and he allows his friend to take the spot kick.
45+8’ PENALTY KICK TO NAPOLI! Mertens goes down inside the area under the challenge of Rakitic and the referee points to the spot.
45+5’ GOAL! Barcelona 3-1 Napoli: Napoli have given themselves a lifeline right at the end of the first half. They need two more goals to secure their passage into the quarter finals. Is the comeback on? Insigne steps up to stroke home from 12 yards out.
83’ GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO... NO! Things were about to get nervy at the Camp Nou, but Milik's goal with his first touch after coming off the bench is ruled out! The Polish striker was just offside!
87’ Off the post! Lozano strained to get on the end of a deep cross to the back post, Ter Stegen looked to have it covered, but it somehow got through his hands and struck the woodwork!
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Lionel Messi has now scored against 35 different teams in the Champions League.
Luis Suarez became only the second Uruguayan to score 25 goals in the Champions League after Edinson Cavani.