Europa League: Barça honors Maradona | sports

De Jong shoots to score Barcelona’s second goal against Napoli.ANDRES SOLARO (AFP)

Barça felt wonderful about his time at the old San Paolo, today impregnated with Maradona. He played the second leg with the enthusiasm with which he finished the first leg at the Camp Nou and did not let Naples say a word. The team with the fewest goals in Calcium conceded an unexpected result: 2-4. The scoreboard speaks very well for Barça in Europe for once after the scorn of the Champions League. The Europa League is different and Barcelona scored more goals in a single match than in all of the Champions League qualifying phase (2). The azulgrana were seen to be very happy and liberated, convinced of their luck in a tournament within their reach, once they have apparently rehabilitated themselves in the League.



Alex Meret, Mário Rui, Di Lorenzo, Rrahmani, Koulibaly, Fabián (Adam Ounas, min.73), Zielinski (Mertens, min.72), Elmas, Insigne (Andrea Petagna, min.81), Diego Demme (Politano, min. . . 45) and Victor Osimhen (Ghoulam, min. 73)



Ter Stegen, Sergiño Dest, Ronald Araújo, Piqué, Alba, Busquets (Gavi, min. 61), Frenkie De Jong, Pedri (Nico González, min. 74), Aubameyang (Luuk de Jong, min. 74), Ferrán Torres ( Riqui Puig, min. 81) and Adama Traoré (Ousmane Dembélé, min. 73)

goals 0-1 min. 7: Dawn. 0-2 minutes 12: Frenkie De Jong. 1-2 minutes 22: Badges. 1-3 min. 44: Pique. 1-4 min. 58: Aubameyang. 2-4 minutes 86: Politano.

Referee Sergei Karasev

Yellow cards Zielinski (min. 55), Fabián (min. 61) and Gavi (min. 92)

The reconstruction of Barcelona is on the right track thanks to Xavi. There is no longer talk of players but of the team and the midfielders go back to processing football so that the defenders score while the strikers make an effort to the astonishment of opponents who felt superior like Napoli. The Italians have not known how to be leaders of their league when Milan and Inter have weakened and also won against Barça. The only moment in which both teams shared the spotlight was when they spoke out against racism, kneeling on the ground, and came out onto the field with the banner against the war.

Xavi attacked the match without his most aggressive player, which is Gavi. The coach had announced a very tough duel and at the moment of singing the line-up he dispensed with the Andalusian midfielder due to fatigue to give Adama entry. The slogan was to open the field with a pure winger on the right while the versatile Ferran moved on the left. The abundance of midfielders and forwards offers several options to the Barça coach after dispensing with Alves as well. The effectiveness of the team, however, does not depend so much on the mix of the attackers as on the accuracy of the defenders, protagonists in Naples just as it happened against Atlético de Madrid.

The success of the azulgrana was so full that after a quarter of an hour they were already winning 0-2. Barcelona’s speed surprised Spalletti’s boys, usually solvent in their area and, on the other hand, vulnerable in the open field, out of touch at the Maradona stadium. Naples pressed very high, required by the field factor, and Barcelona stretched with vertigo. Adama’s run was imposed in a transition mounted by Aubameyang at the exit of a corner badly taken by Insigne and finished off from the right side by Jordi Alba. The second goal came shortly after in a long drive splendidly signed by a parabolic shot by Frenkie de Jong.

Only an error by Ter Stegen, who brought down Osimhen after a late start, rehabilitated Napoli for a moment. Insigne converted the penalty and calmed down the angry fans of the former San Paolo. The 1-2 also affected Barça’s point of view. The azulgrana did not end well the multiple arrivals won by their good pressure and excellent ball output from Ter Stegen’s area. The game was very vertical and the plays did not go beyond three and four touches in a game with a lot of rhythm and in which De Jong felt especially comfortable to the despair of Spalletti’s squad. The match was reduced to a duel of one against eleven: Osimhen-Barça.

intensity and dynamism

The Nigerian attacked the space like a buffalo while the azulgrana mixed the game very well, relaxed and once again successful in a second play coming off a corner that Piqué finished off with his left foot: 1-3. The fourth was finally marked by a striker, Aubameyang, who crowned a tackle by Adama after a feint by De Jong. There was no game from 1-4. Politano’s goal only served to hide the shortcomings of Napoli and the relaxation of Barça, who after completing a good game, began to think about the round of 16 of the Europa League. The good results, as well as the best sensations, begin to have continuity and the azulgrana gain credibility, more uninhibited, direct and sure of themselves than ever if the start of the season at the Camp Nou is taken as a reference.

There is no pass back that is worth now in an intense, dynamic and daring Barça that seeks to quickly recover the lost lineup in the League and in Europe. It was not Napoli but Barça the team that honored Maradona.

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