Barcelona booked their place in the last 16 of the Europa League with an impressive 4-2 win over Napoli at the Diego Armando Stadium. The visitors scored three times in the first half to take charge of the tie and finished the job after the break in a very impressive display.
Barcelona were sensational in the first half and needed just eight minutes to take the lead in the tie. A truly dreadful Napoli corner was pounced on by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang who led a quick break.
The striker then found Adama Traore who ran straight at the Napoli defenders before laying it off to Jordi Alba to finish expertly. Another goal followed five minutes later and was even sweeter.
This time it was Frenkie de Jong who found the back of the net. The Dutch midfielder curled home a simply gorgeous shot from outside the penalty area to put the visitors completely in charge of the game.
Of course it’s Barca so it couldn’t be as simple as that. Marc-Andre ter Stegen gave a penalty away after rushing off his line and clumsily colliding with Victor Osimhen. Lorenzo Insigne made no mistake from the spot.
Yet Barca weren’t finished there and responded well, adding a third just before half-time through Gerard Pique. Napoli made a mess of defending a corner which saw the ball come back into the area and to Pique who swept the ball home.
The second half was a little calmer but saw Barca extend their lead just before the hour mark with another fine goal. Adama Traore was once again involved as he crossed from the right, Frenkie de Jong stepped over the ball and Aubameyang fired into the top corner.
Xavi quickly opted to replace captain Sergio Busquets after seeing his team score a fourth goal against Napoli. Gavi was sent on for the final 30 minutes and was followed by Nico, Ousmane Dembele, and Luuk de Jong. We even saw Riqui Puig for the last 10 minutes.
Napoli did get the ball in the back of the net again late on through Politano after Nico was caught in possession inside his own penalty area but it was to prove only a consolation for the hosts on a great night for Xavi and his men.
Napoli: Meret; Di Lorenzo, Koulibaly, Rrahamni, Mário Rui (Ounas, 74’); Demme (Politano, 46’), Fabián; Elmas, Zielinski (Mertens, 73’), Insigne (Petagna, 81’), Osimhen (Ghoulam, 74’).
Goals: Insigne (23’), Politano (87’)
Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Dest, Pique, Araujo, Alba; Busquets (Gavi, 62’), Frenkie de Jong, Pedri (Nico, 75’); Adama (Dembele, 75’), Aubameyang (Luuk de Jong, 75’), Ferran (Riqui Puig, 81’).
Goals: Alba (8’), Frenkie de Jong (15’), Pique (45’), Aubameyang (59’)