Barcelona – Napoli: Barcelona Blow Their Chances Of A First Leg Win (1-1)
Barcelona made their Europa League debut against Napoli in the first knockout round of the competition. Lifting the Europa League trophy might not have been either side's grandest ambition, but now they found themselves in it to win it. Napoli must have been the happier side after the final whistle as Barcelona missed lots of chances for the win, and will now have to travel to Italy for the second leg with an equal aggregate scoreline.
Tactical analysis and match report by Neel Shelat.
Barcelona’s recent turmoil has been very well documented, but there is a real sense of hope around the club now. Following Xavi’s appointment and a very busy winter transfer window, things are starting to click for the Catalan giants, as was evident in their recent league victory against an admittedly poor Atlético Madrid side. For a club of Barcelona’s stature, just one major trophy since 2019 obviously is not a great return, and the Europa League provided a great opportunity to change that, so this was a competition that they must be taking seriously.
Napoli too have not had the best of times of late after finishing seventh and fifth in their last two Serie A campaigns and consequently missing out on Champions League football, but under new manager Luciano Spalletti, they are on the up too. Their 1-1 draw against defending champions Inter cemented their position in the title race as . . .