Barcelona Return to Champions League Quarterfinals with Napoli Triumph

Barcelona Return to Champions League Quarterfinals with Napoli Triumph

Barcelona’s Champions League resurgence continued on Tuesday as they secured a 3-1 victory over Napoli at the Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys, advancing to the quarterfinals with a 4-2 aggregate score.

The Catalan giants, who had been eliminated in the group stage for the past two years, took an early lead through Fermín López’s 15th-minute strike. João Cancelo doubled their advantage just two minutes later, capitalizing on a rebound from Raphinha’s shot.

Napoli responded with a goal from Amir Rrahmani in the 30th minute, but Barcelona regained control in the second half. Robert Lewandowski sealed the win in the 83rd minute, tapping in a cross from substitute Sergi Roberto.

The victory marks Barcelona’s first Champions League quarterfinal appearance since 2019-20 and provides a much-needed boost to their season. The club has struggled domestically, being eliminated from the Copa del Rey and trailing Real Madrid by seven points in La Liga.

Coach Xavi Hernández praised his team’s performance, saying, “We have been criticized unfairly, and today we showed that this team is prepared to compete in Europe. We are among the best eight teams in Europe. We have to enjoy it.”

Barcelona’s victory also has financial implications, as the club has been facing financial difficulties in recent years. The extra income from reaching the quarterfinals will provide a much-needed boost.

The Catalan club has now extended its unbeaten streak against Napoli to six matches in all competitions. They will face a tough test in the quarterfinals, but their recent form suggests they are capable of challenging for the title.

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