The Camp Nou was a cauldron in its first Europa League match that had everything: dismay at losing, controversy and madness in the tie, booing, and desire for epic. Nápoles will decide Barcelona’s fate next week – Playon99 News
By Facundo Di Bona (@facudibona).
In a match that went through all the possible phases: from pain to epic, from booing to delivery and refereeing controversy with a penalty questioned by almost everyone, the game ended in a 1-1 draw.
Napoli did not believe it when they had Barcelona on the canvas and the team led by Xavi got into the game thanks to the VAR, but in the end, their poor finishing condemned them.
The first 45 minutes of this match had a home team that went looking for the result in their favor: Ferrán Torres, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, and Nico demanded the Italian defense but failed to score.
Barcelona are in the Europa League for the first time since 2003-04.
Barcelona are losing in the Europa League ? pic.twitter.com/mxRe8Xz90o
— B/R Football (@brfootball) February 17, 2022
Barcelona was doing well, playing the ball and generating play, but after so much insistence came the repeated moment of the season. Mistakes at the back can doom the future in a competition.
Napoli themselves were surprised, going into the break with a 1-0 lead, but with the feeling that if they had pressed a little more, they could have settled the tie in the first half.
Piotr Zielinski scored the go-ahead goal from a good team move with Eljif Elmas and there was a feeling that Gerard Pique could have done more to keep out the second from Marc Ter Stegen’s short rebound.
PIOTR ZIELINSKI. OFF THE REBOUND. ?
NAPOLI TAKE THE LEAD OVER BARCA AT THE CAMP NOU. ? @UEL pic.twitter.com/Ecv4T7EQjq
— CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) February 17, 2022
Frenkie de Jong took over the reins to be the leader in Sergio Busquets’ place without any weight in the game and Gavi left his place and with his absence, Barcelona lost nerve. It’s hard, but that’s how it is. The absence of a youthful youngster takes spirit away from the team.
With the Culé team lost and without threatening the opponent despite having a newly bought trident, the match languished with the mistakes of Torres in finishing, the collapse of Adama Traoré, who was very well guarded and with Aubameyang very far from finishing.
❝????? ??? ???? ?????? ???? ??❜?? ??? ??? ????❞
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) February 18, 2022
The second half could not be explained without the ironclad application of the VAR, which judged as a handball and penalty a play that no one, neither in the stands, nor on the pitch, nor in the surrounding area, claimed as a penalty.
Traoré crossed, the ball brushed the fingertips of Juan Jesús without his intervention deviating one degree the trajectory of the ball.
This could have gone unnoticed, but the VAR delegates called the referee to see the action and he decided to award the penalty because the ball did indeed touch the hand.
For the penalty deniers: the defender extends his body and the ball hits his hand. Whether or not it deflects the path of the ball is another matter, but that ends the discussion on the facts.
Ferran took the spot-kick and converted the equalizer to give Barcelona life.
❞?? ????????? ??? ???? … ?? ???????? ???? ????❞
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) February 17, 2022
A new match began and -to add to the morbidity- Xavi sent Ousmane Dembélé onto the pitch, who received a vintage scolding from his fans.
A whistle that could never have been experienced before at Camp Nou. So that they understand: the crowd cheered the team to come back except when the Frenchman touched it, but on the third ball, the applause was imposed on Dembele, who continued to play just as well with the applause as with the boos.
The one who came out to a standing ovation as a new idol was Luuk de Jong with five minutes to go, greeted as a savior by the crowd after a bicycle kick that almost turned the score around.
? Ferran Torres distraught at full-time after missing quite a few chances to win the game for Barcelona v Napoli.
— SPORF (@Sporf) February 17, 2022
Torres again had Barcelona’s clearest chances at his feet, but again missed at key moments and ended the match with tears in his eyes.
Dembélé led the final Blaugrana charge, which had all the epicness that the opening game lacked. Ousmane put a ball on the goal line that found no takers. The return leg in Nápoles promises to be hot.
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