Napoli 1-1 Barcelona: Osimhen restores parity after Lewandowski bags opener in round-of-sixteen

Last season’s Serie A and LaLiga champions would go head-to-head in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday – although their current runs of form paint a rather ugly picture domestically, with Napoli sitting ninth in the Italian top flight ahead of this round-of-sixteen tie.

NAP: Meret; Olivera, Jesus, Rrahmani, di Lorenzo; Ajuste, Lobotka, Zambo Anguissa; Kvaratskhelia, Osimhen, Politano

BAR: ter Stegen; Cancelo, Martinez, Araújo, Koundé; de Jong, Christensen, Gündogan; Pedri, Lewandowski, Yamal

Alex Meret was tested twice in the space of a minute shortly before the half-hour mark, when Robert Lewandowski forced him to deny an effort from close range that could have easily slipped through his legs. The second effort swiftly followed from Ilkay Gündogan, who let rip from outside the box but the Italian keeper was equal to it. 

While the Catalan visitors held much of the possession in the first half, they couldn’t break down a solid Napoli backline as they trundled down the tunnel with the match still goalless at the interval.

The first goal would come sixty minutes in, when Pedri picked out Lewandowski – who had started to make a move towards the box, taking half a yard for himself before picked out the bottom corner with his low-driven effort. 

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But Victor Osimhen would once again play the role of saviour for Napoli, when he levelled the scoring with fifteen minutes remaining. The Nigerian received the ball with his back to goal and spun away from Inigo Martinez, leaving the Barca defender on the floor. All that was left was to guide it past Marc-Andre ter Stegen, which Osimhen did with ease. 

Ilkay Gündogan came close to netting a late winner in Naples, but as the two sides now turn their attention to the return leg at the Estadi Lluís Companys on March 12, there is nothing to separate them.