Barcelona knock Napoli out of Champions League

Barcelona 3-1 Napoli: Barcelona knock Napoli out of Champions League as Lionel Messi works magic to send Barca into quarter-finals.

Barcelona knock Napoli out of Champions League
Barcelona have reached the quarter-finals for the 13th season running after a first-half blitz ended Napoli’s hopes.

(African Stand) — Lionel Messi scored a spectacular solo effort as Barcelona cruised into the Champions League quarter-finals with a 3-1 win over Napoli at Camp Nou on Saturday night.

The two teams were meeting 165 days after their 1-1 draw in Italy prior to lockdown and the first chance fell to the visitors at an empty Camp Nou as Dries Mertens crashed an angled drive against the post inside two minutes.

But Barca took the lead as Clement Lenglet headed home from an Ivan Rakitic corner after 10 minutes to net his first Champions League goal for the Catalan club.

Messi made it 2-0 after 23 minutes when he found his way into the area from the right, went down, picked himself up again, continued his run and somehow dug out a curler with his left foot which flew past David Ospina and into the corner.

The Argentine thought he had scored again seven minutes later when he superbly chested down a ball from Frankie de Jong at the far post and beat Ospina from close range, but his effort was ruled out by VAR as he was adjudged to have controlled with his arm.

Late in the first half, Messi then won a penalty as he had his leg taken out by Kalidou Koulibaly, with the spot-kick awarded after a long VAR check.

The Barca captain was down receiving treatment for some time, so Luis Suarez stepped up to fire past Ospina and put Barca into a 3-0 lead on the night.

Deep into stoppage time at the end of the first half, Napoli then won a penalty of their own as Rakitic was adjudged to have fouled Mertens and Lorenzo Insigne sent Marc-Andre ter Stegen the wrong way to give the Italians some hope of a comeback.

The second half was much more even affair and chances were few and far between.

Substitute Arkadiusz Milik saw a header correctly ruled out for offside after 81 minutes and Irving Lozano hit the post later on as Napoli sought a way back into the game, but Ter Stegen had it covered and the Catalans held on for an ultimately comfortable victory.

Barca’s 3-1 win sees the Catalans advance 4-2 on aggregate and Setien’s side will face Bayern Munich (7-1 winners against Chelsea over two legs) in the quarter-finals in a one-off meeting in Lisbon next week.

Ericson Mangoli

Written by Ericson Mangoli

Ericson Mangoli is the founder of African Stand, based in Nairobi Kenya, Ericson leads a splendid group of correspondents, independent writers, investigators, analysts, and supporters from around the globe to run African Stand as a supervisor and the chief editor.

Ericson Mangoli's editorial experience ranges more than 5 years and covers all the sports news, and at times including business and venture, data innovation, legislative issues, strategy, basic freedoms, science detailing, and significantly more.

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