the beautiful demonstration of Barcelona which continues its adventure in the Europa League

After a frustrating draw in the first leg (1-1), Barça easily won on Napoli’s lawn this Thursday evening in the Europa League return play-off (4-2). The Catalans, very attractive, can now cross paths with Monaco or OL in the round of 16.

It’s not yet the Barca from the great era, far from it, but seeing the Catalan club shine in this way during a European evening will undoubtedly delight the most nostalgic. This Thursday, FC Barcelona made short work of Naples at the Diego Armando Maradona stadium by winning 4-2 in the Europa League play-off return (1-1 in the first leg). The ticket for the round of 16 is validated, and with style.

>> Relive Napoli-Barça

After being ingloriously released from the Champions League this fall, finishing 3rd in its group with a single victory, Barça therefore continues its journey in C3, the only European competition that it has not won. A week after a tense draw at Camp Nou, where they had failed to materialize their clear domination (21 shots to 4), the Blaugranas have this time adjusted their sights and made the powder speak.

The brilliant inspiration of Frenkie de Jong

This meeting between two big names in European football did not take long to settle. From the 8th, FC Barcelona took the lead thanks to a goal from Jordi Alba on a counter-flash, following a completely missed corner from Lorenzo Insigne. Adama Traoré, who arrived this winter and omnipresent this Thursday evening, fixes in the axis and shifts the side, who wins his duel with Alex Meret (1-0, 8th).

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Four minutes later, Napoli’s Italian keeper was glued to his line after an absolutely light strike from Frenkie de Jong. Full axis, the Dutch midfielder is not attacked and can arm 20 meters. While relaxed, the former Ajax place a delicious roll that comes to die under the skylight and thus scored the first goal of his career in the European Cup (2-0, 13th).

After barely a quarter of an hour, the break was already done for Barça. But, in front of their audience, Napoli were able to find the resources to come back and reduced the mark thanks to a penalty perfectly converted by Lorenzo Insigne, just 10 minutes after the jewel of De Jong (2-1).

Except that this Barça no longer seems to be this team lacking in confidence which has shown great fragility in recent months. Despite the reduced score, Xavi’s men resumed their forward march and continued to hurt the Italians. Just before the break, Pique, in surface fox after a badly taken corner, gave the Catalans some air (3-1, 45th).

The recruits shone, Dembélé returned

Upon returning from the locker room, the winter recruits shone. Traoré, already a passer on the opener for Alba, offered himself a second caviar by crossing low to the ground towards Aubameyang, whose recovery ended in the top corner. The Gabonese, who has become undesirable at Arsenal, confirms that he is in very good shape by once again finding the net, four days after his hat-trick in Valencia in La Liga (4-1, 59th).

The reduction in Matteo Politano’s score at the end of the game (4-2, 87th) in no way spoiled the party, made even more beautiful with the entry of Ousmane Dembélé in the 75th. After his aborted departure in January and his little shelving, the French winger has a fourth match.

In the round of 16, the Barcelonans are sure to come across a team that finished first in the group stage. Fate can therefore put the two French clubs, Lyon and Monaco, on the road to the Catalans, but also Spartak Moscow, Frankfurt, Galatasaray, Red Star Belgrade, Bayer Leverkusen or West Ham. The draw is to follow this Friday at 12 p.m. on RMC Sport 1.

Felix Gabory RMC Sport journalist

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