Barcelona have done their homework in the Champions League restart and qualified for the Lisbon Playoffs thanks to a 3-1 win over Napoli at Camp Nou. The Blaugrana played a very good first half that was enough to give them the winning goals, and despite a very poor second half the Catalan giants are through and will face Bayern Munich next week.
Napoli made a solid start to the game, dominating possession and responding well to Barcelona’s high pressing scheme. But as soon as Clément Lenglet’s header from a Ivan Rakitic corner went in just 10 minutes into the match, Barça took control and played a very good game with and without the ball.
Barça didn’t have the majority of possession but were always intense and decisive whenever they had the ball, and they made it 2-0 thanks to an incredible goal by Lionel Messi: the captain took on three Napoli defenders, survived two challenges inside the box and still had the strength to stay on his fit and curl a beauty into the bottom corner.
Barça made it 3-0 not long after thanks to a genius cross by Frenkie De Jong and a smart finish by Messi, but VAR disallowed the goal for a handball by Messi, which was really hard to see in all the angles showed in the broadcast.
The home team continued to attack and press, though, and Messi earned a penalty after running down and eventually being kicked in the ankle by Koulibaly. Luis Suárez stepped up, buried the spot kick and made it 3-0. Things were looking great for Barça, but Ivan Rakitic fouled Dries Mertens inside the box and Lorenzo Insigne scored for Napoli seconds before halftime.
At the half, Barça were dominant and deserving of the lead, but the visitors still had a little bit of hope. The Blaugrana just needed to finish the job.
The first 30 minutes of the second half were hard to watch. Both teams misplaced pass after pass and committed tons of fouls, and there was just no rhythm to the game. Napoli had a couple of dangerous moments but nothing that truly bothered Ter Stegen, and Barça were more than happy to pass the ball in the attacking half and run out the clock.
As we reached the final 10 minutes, Napoli ran out of energy and couldn’t really create anything, and Barça simply parked the bus and kept waiting for the final whistle instead of actively trying to search for a fourth and decisive goal.
The final whistle eventually came to end a horrible second half performance, but Barça have done the job and are going to Lisbon. Bayern Munich is up next. Messi help us.
Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Semedo, Piqué, Lenglet, Alba; Roberto, Rakitic, De Jong; Messi, Suárez (Firpo 90’+2), Griezmann (Monchu 84’)
Goals: Lenglet (10’), Messi (23’), Suárez (45’+1 pen.)
Napoli: Ospina; Di Lorenzo, Manolas, Koulibaly, Mário Rui; Fabián (Elmas 79’), Demme (Lobotka 46’), Zielinski (Lozano 70’); Callejón (Politano 70’), Mertens, Insigne (Milik 79’)
Goal: Insigne (45’+5 pen.)