Napoli’s dream of drubbing Barcelona at the Diego Armando Maradona stadium in Italy turned to a nightmare on Thursday night.
Instead, it was the visitors who entertained the host to a buffet of classy football in a match that ended 4-2 in favour of Barca.
The Catalan giants arrived in Italy with only one mission in mind – to win – after the first leg at Camp Nou ended 1-1.
Xavi brought back the centre-back pairing of Gerard Pique and Ronald Araujo.
Frenkie de Jong and Pedri partnered Sergio Busquets in midfield while Adama Traore returned to the front three.
Barcelona took an early lead in just the eighth minute of the game when Adama Traore set Jordi Alba free in front of the goal.
The left-back made no mistake after he found himself standing face to face with the goalkeeper and slotted the ball into the back of the net.
The Spanish giants did not have to wait long to double their lead.
Ferran Torres, who was wasteful in the first leg, won the ball in the midfield and passed to Frenkie de Jong.
The Dutch maestro fired a glorious strike from the edge of the area into the top-right corner of the goal.
With the momentum on their side, Barcelona continued to dominate the home team in their backyard.
Napoli clawed their way back into the game in the 20th minute when Victor Osimhen was fouled on the edge of the box by Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
The resultant penalty was put away by Lorenzo Insigne.
The goal rejuvenated the Italians but the goal only provided momentary relief as Xavi’s side took the upper hand once again.
Gerard Pique fired a deflected ball into the net with a well-worked shot in the 44th minute.
Spalletti made some sweeping changes by bringing on Matteo Politano for the second half.
But the move saw Napoli strung together more passes and created a few chances via Zielinski, Osimhen and Insigne.
In the 59th minute, Barcelona scored hit the final nail in Napoli’s coffin, courtesy of Aubameyang, who buried the ball into the top corner from close range.
Insigne pulled one back for Napoli in the 70th minute but was well offside in the process.
Nico Gonzalez lost the ball in the 87th minute, and it fell at the feet of Politano. A precise finish from the forward was enough to beat ter Stegen at the near post. Yet, it was only a consolation for Napoli.
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