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Barcelona vs Napoli. UEFA Champions League First Knockout Round.

Estadio Olimpico de MontjuicAttendance50,301.

Barcelona 3

  • F López (15th minute)
  • J Cancelo (17th minute)
  • R Lewandowski (83rd minute)

Napoli 1

  • A Rrahmani (30th minute)


Barcelona 3-1 Napoli (agg 4-2): Robert Lewandowski sends youthful Barca into Champions League quarter-finals

Match report as goals from Fermin Lopez, Joao Cancelo and Robert Lewandowski helped Barcelona to a 3-1 win over Napoli on the night that meant a 4-2 aggregate triumph for Xavi Hernandez's side; Amir Rrahmani's goal was in vain for the Italian team

Barcelona's Robert Lewandowski, right, celebrates with his teammates after scoring his side's third goal against Napoli in the Champions League last-16
Image: Robert Lewandowski celebrates with his Barcelona team-mates after scoring his side's third goal

Barcelona progressed to the Champions League quarter-finals with a 3-1 home victory over Napoli to secure a 4-2 aggregate win.

Two goals early in the game from Fermin Lopez and Joao Cancelo put Xavi Hernandez's side in total control but Barca had to survive a scare against the Italian champions in the middle part of the match.

Amir Rrahmani pulled one back before the break and Jesper Lindstrom missed the target with a header from point-blank range late in the game that would have levelled the tie. Instead, Robert Lewandowski finished off a fine team move to seal it.

Neither side has been able to mount a defence of their domestic crowns this season but it is Barcelona who can still dream of ending their European campaign on a high.

How Barca held off Napoli fightback

Barcelona started brightly, reflecting their improved form since Xavi announced his decision to leave at the end of the season. They came into this game unbeaten in eight since the midfield legend ended any debate about his long-term future as coach.

Picking a team packed with youngsters, it was Lopez and Lamine Yamal to the fore from the outset, while Pau Cubarsi, aged just 17 and tasked with marking Victor Osimhen, took to the job with gusto. Cubarsi's long pass almost brought Lopez the opener.

He did not have to wait long, netting with a low finish that seemed to send Barca's confidence into overdrive. Within a couple of minutes, they had doubled their lead. Raphinha hit the post and Cancelo strode onto the rebound to fire home.

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Joao Cancelo of FC Barcelona celebrates a goal during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg, match played between FC Barcelona and SSC Napoli at Estadio Olimpico de Montjuic on March 12, 2024 in Barcelona, Spain. AFP7 12/03/2024 (Europa Press via AP)
Image: Joao Cancelo celebrates scoring the second goal for Barcelona against Napoli

Napoli looked vulnerable, all shrugs and bowed heads, but they found a response just when Barca seemed to have taken the tie away from them. A slick move down the right found the finish it deserved with defender Rrahmani converting neatly with his left foot.

That altered the mood in an instant and it was a fraught second half for the home side as they were unable to retain possession of the ball. Napoli felt aggrieved to be denied a penalty when Cubarsi appeared to make contact with Osimhen inside the box.

But the real moment of regret for Napoli will be Lindstrom's header. He was under little pressure when the cross came in from the left and appeared to pick out his spot only to see the ball drift wide of the near post. Lewandowski made him pay.

It was a beautiful goal too, reminiscent of Barca at their best. Ilkay Gundogan's typically clever pass found the run of Sergi Roberto and his unselfishness was rewarded as he found Lewandowski in the middle. The expert marksman did the rest.

Barca's win in stats

  • Barcelona have reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League for the first time since 2019-20, with them also knocking Napoli out of the last 16 that season 4-2 on aggregate.
  • Barca have won all four of their home games in this season's Champions League, the first time they have won their first four home matches of a campaign in the competition since 2017-18.
  • Napoli have been eliminated at the last-16 stage of the Champions League in four of the five times they have reached this round.
  • Robert Lewandowski has scored 13 goals in his last 13 knockout stage games in the Champions League.
  • Since the start of 2020-21, Joao Cancelo is the only defender to register 10+ goal involvements in the competition (14 - 5 goals, 9 assists).
  • In Lamine Yamal (16y 243d) and Pau Cubarsi (17y 50d), Barcelona were the first side in UEFA Champions League history to start two players aged 17 or below in a knockout game.

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