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Barcelona Edge Past Napoli To Make UCL Quarter-Final Return

By Real11 - Mar 13 2024 154 Views
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Young Guns Dazzle As Barcelona Makes It To The Final 8 Of The Champions League 

Once again the results prove that one can rely on La Masia when Barcelona needs it. When every other option seemed blunt, when the chips were down, the academy graduates rose to the occasion and delivered, as they knocked out defending Serie A champions, Napoli in the second leg of the Champions League, Round of 16. 

Dark clouds loomed over Barca’s chances in the subsequent stages of competition especially after the dismal first-leg draw against Partenopei. Nevertheless, a few exceptional performances on Tuesday night turned down the table for the Blaugrana at the Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys. 

One of the shining stars was Pau Cubarsi. The 17-year-old ruled the field for 90 long minutes against the likes of Victor Oshimen. What a talent! Barely set a foot wrong in the whole game. 

Fermin Lopez once again displayed his ability to be at the right place at the right time. His career for the Blue and Maroon is a lesson for other youngsters that hard work, patience and dedication on the pitch always pay dividends.  

It was not like Fermin dictated the tempo of the game throughout the evening but it was his fine touch that opened the floodgates for Barca.  

Barca started the first half brightly, scoring two goals in nearly two minutes as Fermin slotted the opener followed by Cancelo’s rebound that he gleefully accepted after Raphina hit the post.  

How can I talk about La Masia prodigies and not mention the 16-year-old wonderkid? Lamine Yamal continued his purple patch. He glided across the pitch and often threatened to find the back of the net. The youngster stepped in the absence of Pedri, and Gavi and once again showed why the Blaugranes are so thrilled to have him in the club. 

Off-and-on spectators and commentators may still fault his age, but the matter of fact is that the 16-year-old has now become a crucial part of this injury-plagued squad.  

Sergi Roberto among the revered figures also deserves a shoutout for his phenomenal performance last night. He came up in the 60th minute of the game and set the third goal for Lewandowski in the 83’. While he had the chance to go for the goal himself, he selflessly squared it up for the Polish striker to take the aggregate 4-2.  Lewa yet again showed that he is the man for big occasions as his goal powered the reigning La Liga champions to the UCL quarter-finals after 4 long years. His performance off late has been clinical which has put the Barca management in a quandary, whether to offload one of their most loyal players of the past decade or not. 

The Catalans fans must be happy to see their side reaching the Quarters after years of dropping out early of Europe’s greatest football tournament. Xavi’s side can now take a sigh of relief and relieve another dreamy evening at Wembley.    

The visitors had some great chances to get themselves back on track but failed to utilise them correctly. The Spanish Giants would soon find out who they would face in the ‘Quarter-Final’ after the draw on Friday. The Champions League run came to an end for the Francesco Calzona-led Italian side who will now look to shift their focus to Serie A. 

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