Osimhen on target as Napoli come back to draw with Barcelona in first leg

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Osimhen on target as Napoli come back to draw with Barcelona in first leg
Victor Osimhen celebrates his equaliser for Napoli
Victor Osimhen celebrates his equaliser for Napoli
AFP
Against the run of play, SSC Napoli snatched a 1-1 draw against Barcelona in the round of 16 of the UEFA Champions League, leaving the tie firmly in the balance. Following the stalemate, the Partenopei remain winless in five meetings against the Catalan outfit (D3, L2).

It was the reigning Italian champions coming up against the reigning Spanish champions in this round of 16 tie, with Napoli having their third manager of the season in the dugout following Walter Mazzarri’s dismissal at the beginning of the week.

His replacement, Slovakia’s national team boss Francesco Calzona, would have been concerned by his side’s start as they struggled to contain the Catalan outfit and their high press which produced a host of early chances. Lamine Yamal was the dangerman for Barca and had two early shots on goal, the second of which tested Alex Meret.

Barca continued to dominate throughout the first half and next up to come close for the away side was Lewandowski, who was denied by the feet of Meret after being picked up by Joao Cancelo following the Portuguese full-back’s marauding run into the box.

The Azzurri’s disappointing half was compounded by the fact that they failed to register a shot in the opening 45 minutes.

Key match stats
StatsPerform

Napoli’s start to the second half was certainly an improvement on the first with the Partenopei having a shot within 15 seconds of the restart - albeit a wayward header from Matteo Politano.

However, Barca soon gained control of proceedings and finally made one of their chances count to break the deadlock on the hour mark. Pedri picked out Lewandowski in the box and the Pole showed great composure to take a touch and bury his finish into the bottom corner.

Robert Lewandowski opened the scoring for Barcelona
AFP

With the final quarter-hour beckoning, Politano’s headed effort 15 seconds into the second half was the only chance that Napoli had created.

However, in the 75th minute, Victor Osimhen - who had been starved of any service - brilliantly drew his side level with their second shot after receiving the ball in the box with his back to goal, turned and finished with aplomb past Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

The goal seemed to spark the Italian side to life, along with the fans in the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium - but neither team could find a winning goal as Calzona would have been pleased to see his side still in the tie after being outplayed for 75 minutes.

While in the other dugout, Xavi was left frustrated at his side’s lack of killer instinct, and they are left with work to do in order to progress to a 14th successive appearance in the quarter-finals of the competition.

Flashscore Man of the Match: Pedri (Barcelona)

See all the match stats here. 

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