Champions: Barcelona wins 3-1, Napoli eliminated – Football

Napoli’s dream of reaching the Champions League quarter-finals vanishes in Barcelona. The Azzurri were defeated by the Montjuic Olympic Stadium 3-1 and also had to say goodbye to the team world championship which will be played next summer in the USA. The Azzurri fight with ardor and courage but pay for the chronic weakness of their defense which too often suffers terribly from the freshness and speed of the Blaugrana attackers.

In Napoli, both Osimhen and Kvaratskhelia make a scant, almost irrelevant contribution, producing impalpable performances. Xavi, who has to do without Pedri, Gabri and De Jong, as well as Ferran Torres, Balde and Marcos Alonso, relies on the sixteen-year-old Yamal, the seventeen-year-old Cubarsi and the twenty-year-old Lopez whose vitality and imagination often put Napoli in difficulty. Calzona sends onto the field the formation that at the moment must be considered the starting one, with Traorè as an advanced midfielder and Mario Rui preferred to Olivera on the left wing of the defense.

The start of the match was a nightmare for Napoli who, after 16 minutes of play, were already two goals down. The Italian defense was too slow and staid, with little or no support from the midfielders who barely guarded the very delicate area of ​​the pitch in front of their own penalty area. In the 14th minute Rhaphina runs away from the left, reaches the back line and places the ball back for Lopez who, left alone in the middle of the penalty area, beats Meret with a low shot. Only two minutes pass and Barca double their lead. The action develops on the counterattack and it is once again Rhaphina who frees herself with the shot. The conclusion hits the post and the ball returns to the field right at the feet of Cancelo who sends it towards goal without difficulty. Napoli could become dejected and further disunited after suffering the deadly one-two. But is not so. Slowly Calzona’s team finds courage and begins to build its actions with good continuity. The goal that halved the gap to the Spaniards came in the 29th minute. Politano frees himself on the right and serves Rrahmani with a low shot into the penalty area.

The defender’s left-footed shot is a winner. In the final phase of the first half the Azzurri also came close to scoring the equalizer with a deflected header by Di Lorenzo, following Mario Rui’s cross, which involved Ter Stegen in a difficult deflection into a corner kick. In the second half, Napoli made a strong start and put the opposing defense under pressure, also creating a good opportunity with Politano. In the 5th minute Cubarsi hits Osimhen with a stomp in the area but neither the referee nor VAR believe they need to intervene. After about twenty minutes of suffering, Barcelona regained control of the game and created good opportunities with Rhaphina and Gundogan who forced Meret to respond with two difficult saves. In the 34th minute Lindstrom appears alone in front of Ter Stegen following Olivera’s cross and with a header he almost hits the post.

After three minutes, Napoli’s dreams of reaching a draw were finally shattered. Sergi Roberto exchanges with Gundogan, enters the penalty area and with one touch offers Lewandowski the decisive pass that sends the Pole into the goal. In the final, Olivera hits the crossbar and in injury time Napoli comes close to scoring with a low shot from Kvaratskhelia. But the fate of the match is now sealed and the Azzurri say goodbye to the Champions League.

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2024-03-12 22:06:58
#Champions #Barcelona #wins #Napoli #eliminated #Football


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