UEFA Europa League never fails to meet its standards as two European giants, FC Barcelona and S.S.C Napoli collided in an interesting game at the Camp Nou. Both teams dominated one of the halves respectively and the score ended in a rather “unsatisfactory” draw.
Being a European competition, both teams were charged up. This was the first leg of the two-legged fixture and as the “away-goal” rule has been removed by UEFA, things were different this time around.
Napoli’s manager, Luciano Spalletti chose an “interesting”, 4-2-3-1 formation which included stars like Lorenzo Insigne, Kalidou Koulibailly, Fabian Ruiz, and so on. This was a star-studded line-up and was ready to rip off Barca.
The Catalans had slight problems in their defensive backline, this was due to the absence of their warrior defender, Ronald Araujo. Xavi Hernandez, the Barcelona manager chose to start with a classic 4-3-3 with an Alba, Pique, Garcia, and Mingueza backline.
First Half: Napoli’s Domination
Although Barca started the game well with good possession-based gameplay but couldn’t make any decisive chances as they struggled to deal with Napoli’s defensive trap.
Napoli on the other hand, made their chances count. Their star striker, Oshimen was a constant nuisance for the Barcelona defense and created some fabulous chances. He led the “Napoli-Domination” from the front.
In the 29th minute, Ferran Torres missed an easy opportunity which was meant to be a goal but was struck wide.
The keeper took the goal kick quickly which launched a quick counterattack. Zielinski, Napoli’s midfielder, received the ball and calmly finished into the Barca goal, giving Napoli a one-goal lead.
The first half ended with Barca holding the ball and not making clear-cut chances with the score being 0-1 to Napoli.
Second Half: Barca Rejuvenated
The second half started with Barca looking calm and composed. Launching attack after attack, Barca was playing with an attacking approach. Midfielders, Pedri, and Nico were dominating the game.
The attacking approach helped Barca as Adama Traore’s cross earned them a penalty. Napoli defender, Juan struck the ball with his hand and the VAR check declared it as a penalty. This penalty was taken by Ferran Torres who calmly finished it making the score 1-1.
This goal pushed Napoli on the back-foot who were just looking to preserve the 1-1 goal margin. Barca launched attack after attack but was of no use as attempts lacked “proper finishing”.
The match ended with a 1-1 goal line as Napoli managed to hold on, all thanks to Barca goal scorer, Ferran Torres, who missed some simple finishes.
Even after scoring the equalizer, Ferran Torres was Barca’s worst player. He missed several simple opportunities which could have made the score 3-1 or even 4-1.
Barca fans were pretty unhappy with this finishing display by the 60 million euro player.