Barcelona vs Napoli UEFA Europa League LIVE Football Score 24 Feb 2022
About the match
Napoli is going head to head with Barcelona starting on 24 Feb 2022 at 20:00 UTC at Stadio Diego Armando Maradona stadium, Naples city, Italy. The match is a part of the UEFA Europa League.
With the tie delicately poised following a 1-1 first-leg draw at Camp Nou, Napoli welcome Barcelona to the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona for the second leg of their Europa League playoff battle on Thursday evening.
Luciano Spalletti’s side were on course for a famous Catalan win after Piotr Zielinski’s opener before Ferran Torres responded from the spot in the first leg.
Taking part in their first match in a tournament which was previously alien to them, Barcelona’s inaugural Europa League tie was heading in the wrong direction after Zielinski was allowed to stroll into space and smash home the opener at the second attempt following Marc-Andre ter Stegen’s initial save.
However, Barca’s appeals for a penalty were rewarded after Adama Traore’s ball struck the hand of Juan Jesus, and Ferran Torres converted the spot kick to level proceedings, but the former Manchester City man could not capitalise on two late opportunities to settle the contest in his side’s favour.
In previous Europa League tournaments, Napoli would boast the upper hand in this tie, but the abolition of the away goals rule means that it is all to play for on the Naples turf, and Spalletti’s men enter the contest having just played out their third 1-1 draw in succession – this time against Cagliari in Serie A.
Crunch clashes with Lazio and AC Milan follow the second leg for this injury-hit Napoli outfit, who are still in with a real shot at Calcio glory and are aiming to avoid being dumped out of the Europa League at this stage for the fourth time in seven seasons.
A six-game unbeaten run across all competitions does stand the hosts in good stead ahead of Thursday’s showdown, but a tally of just two wins from their last six on home soil is not a recipe for success against this new-look Barcelona outfit.
An early exit from the Champions League is one thing, but Barcelona surely cannot fathom being sent packing at this stage of Europe’s secondary competition, especially given their already volatile financial situation.
Xavi’s side would have taken a first-leg advantage to Naples had they been that little bit more clinical in front of their own supporters, but there was no such lack of ruthlessness on show at the Mestalla, as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s hat-trick and Frenkie de Jong’s effort sunk Valencia 4-1.
Spearheading this new-look Barcelona attack, Aubameyang appears to be banishing the demons of his painful Arsenal exit, and the former Borussia Dortmund man could yet play a key role in ensuring that the ongoing Ousmane Dembele saga has a positive ending.
That 4-1 success in La Liga marked Barca’s fifth game on the bounce without defeat, and they have scored in every one of their matches since the turn of the year, but no clean sheets in four may concern Xavi somewhat.
Barcelona were forced to settle for a 1-1 draw on Napoli’s turf during the 2019-20 Champions League last-16 before winning 3-1 at home, and another entertaining affair could be in store here, with both sides scoring in all three competitive meetings between the European powerhouses
Napoli right-back Giovanni Di Lorenzo was involved in a worrying clash of heads with Cagliari’s Giorgio Altare on Monday night, and Spalletti is facing a conundrum in that area after his replacement Kevin Malcuit left with a calf issue.
The hosts are also dealing with the absences of Hirving Lozano, Stanislav Lobotka and Andre Zambo Anguissa, with youthful right-back Alessandro Zanoli possibly in line to start if neither Di Lorenzo nor Malcuit are cleared to play.
Napoli announced on their website that Di Lorenzo did not suffer any lasting effects from his head collision, so the Italian could controversially line up as Victor Osimhen prepares to take the place of Andrea Petagna up top. Matteo Politano and Lorenzo Insigne have also trained and are in contention to feature.
Meanwhile, Barcelona duo Dani Alves and Gerard Pique both served domestic suspensions at the weekend, although only the latter is eligible for the Europa League, and Jordi Alba’s impending La Liga ban means nothing for this contest.
Clement Lenglet, Memphis Depay, Samuel Umtiti, Ansu Fati, Alejandro Balde and Sergi Roberto will all miss out for the visitors, who have fresh concerns over Eric Garcia and Frenkie de Jong after their early substitutions against Valencia.
At this stage, there is nothing to suggest that the duo will not be involved in Naples, although the returning Pique ought to displace Garcia alongside Ronald Araujo in any case.
Leave a Reply