09 Aug Messi 9/10, De Jong 8/10 as Barca attain Champions League quarters
Lionel Messi impressed Barcelona to a 3-1 win in opposition to Napoli on Saturday to arrange a Champions League quarterfinal in opposition to Bayern Munich in Lisbon subsequent week.
Messi scored a surprising particular person aim, had one other effort dominated out for handball and gained a penalty, which was transformed by Luis Suarez, as Barca booked their place within the final eight for the 13th consecutive season.
Clement Lenglet opened the scoring at Camp Nou within the 10th minute earlier than Messi beat a number of Napoli gamers and fired previous David Ospina for a surprise aim. Suarez made it three after Kalidou Koulibaly fouled Messi within the space.
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Lorenzo Insigne pulled one again for Napoli from the penalty spot in first-half stoppage time however Barca noticed out the second half to seal a 4-2 mixture win.
An in any other case disappointing season can nonetheless end on a excessive if Barca can win the Champions League. They will not be the outright favourites however with Messi on kind and one-off video games from right here on in, there is not any motive they can not finish a five-year look forward to Europe’s greatest prize. Failure to take action would imply a primary trophy-less season since 2007-08.
Messi’s the important thing however Frenkie de Jong is also essential. He was missed within the La Liga run-in however is match once more and was among the finest gamers on the pitch in opposition to Napoli.
Barca will even be relieved that Messi, Antoine Griezmann and Nelson Semedo all prevented bookings which might have seen them suspended for the quarterfinal with Bayern. UEFA will now wipe all earlier yellow playing cards from the data.
Barca had been sluggish getting began — Dries Martens hit the bar within the second minute — and there have been some acquainted frailties on present at occasions. They lacked tempo, gave up probabilities and didn’t hold a clear sheet. Bayern will definitely see loads of weaknesses to show.
Supervisor ranking out of 10
7 — Quique Setien’s choices had been restricted with six first-teamers absent, so he did not have many selections to make by way of personnel. That stated, his failure to present any sport time to Riqui Puig or Ansu Fati was a bemusing one.
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Participant rankings (1-10; 10 = finest, gamers launched after 70 minutes get no ranking)
GK Marc-Andre ter Stegen, 6 — Did not have too many robust saves to make however was good within the air along with his fists when Napoli turned to crosses.
DF Nelson Semedo, 7 — A energetic efficiency full of attacking intent. At one stage within the first half, he beat 4 Napoli gamers, solely to see the transfer fizzle out resulting from an absence of choices forward of him.
DF Gerard Pique, 6 — Began slowly however led Barca within the second half to make sure they did not change off and let Napoli again into the sport.
DF Clement Lenglet, 7 — A stable efficiency on the again and a extremely well-taken header to open the scoring.
DF Jordi Alba, 6 — Acquired ahead and linked properly with the attackers with out having one in all his only video games.
MF Ivan Rakitic, 5 — Began properly, organising the primary aim and taking pictures large from distance, however dropped off as the sport went on. Conceded the penalty for Napoli’s aim and can possible drop out of the aspect when Arturo Vidal and Sergio Busquets return from their suspensions.
MF Sergi Roberto, 6 — Didn’t do so much mistaken however wasn’t as concerned as a Barca midfielder must be.
MF Frenkie de Jong, 8 — An excellent show from the Dutchman who might be essential within the ultimate eight. Denied a superb help when Messi’s aim was dominated out for a questionable handball.
FW Lionel Messi, 9 — Barca will not be the very best team within the Champions League this season however they nonetheless have the very best participant. Solely wanted 45 minutes to settle this tie after which conserved himself within the second half.
FW Antoine Griezmann, 5 — A reasonably nameless efficiency on his first outing since he bought injured in opposition to Actual Valladolid on July 11.
FW Luis Suarez, 6 — A fantastic end from the penalty however not so much else to report.
MF Monchu, N/R — The Barca B midfielder got here on for his first-team debut within the 84th minute, changing Griezmann.
DF Junior Firpo, N/R — Thrown on in stoppage time rather than Suarez.