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Barcelona vs SS Napoli preview, team news, match tickets and prediction

Barcelona vs SS Napoli preview, team news, match tickets and prediction

FC Barcelona will be looking to reclaim their place among the elite clubs in Europe by going as far as attaining glory in the UEFA Champions League this season after an uncharacteristically abysmal performance in the group stages last season. Napoli, who were quarter-finalists last campaign, will be looking to go much further in the competition this season but the team from Naples have struggled somewhat along the course of this campaign. 

The 2023/2024 UEFA Champions League group stage draw pitched Barcelona up against the likes of FC Porto, Shakhtar Donetsk, and Royal Antwerp in Group H. Meanwhile, Napoli were placed in group C alongside European and Spanish heavyweights Real Madrid, S.C Braga, and champion’s league debutants Union Berlin.

FC Barcelona kicked off their UEFA Champions League group stage campaign in style, subjecting Royal Antwerp to a 5-0 thrashing at the Camp Nou Stadium with Joao Felix scoring early and capping the scoring in the 11th and 66th minutes respectively. Robert Lewandoski and Gavi each grabbed goals for themselves, both players scoring either side of a Jelle Bateille own goal. Barcelona’s second group stage game of the campaign ended with another win, this time over FC Porto as La Blaugrana secured a 1-0 triumph over the Portuguese side with Ferran Torres scoring the only goal of the game for Barca on the stroke of half time.

The Catalans maintained an unblemished start to their Champions League group-stage campaign after a 2-1 triumph over Shakhtar Donetsk. However, the Spanish side suffered their first defeat of the campaign against the same opponents as Shakhtar condemned La Blaugrana to a 1-0 defeat, Danylo Sikan’s superb header in the 40th minute, the difference between both teams. Barcelona got back to winning ways with a 2-1 victory over FC Porto to secure a spot in the Round of 16. 

The Catalans went behind 30 minutes into the first half after Porto’s Pepe Aquinhos smashed in a rebound effort into the back of the net however Joao Cancelo immediately pulled Barca level less than two minutes later with a superb solo effort before Joao Felix put the Catalans in front in the 57th minute, driving home a low shot after exchanging a neat one-two pass with Joao Cancelo.

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Napoli got their UEFA Champions League group stage campaign off to a great start with a 2-1 victory over S.C Braga at the Braga Municipal Stadium. Giovanni Di Lorenzo gave Napoli the lead in the first minute of first-half stoppage time, thumping home a firm left-footed strike to see Napoli go in with the lead at halftime. Bruma drew Braga level in the 84th minute with the club’s first Champions League goal in 11 years as he glanced Zalazar’s lobbed pass over Napoli

goalkeeper Meret and into the back of the net before S.C Braga defender Sikou Niakate awkwardly put the ball past his goalkeeper after Napoli’s Zielinski put a cross into the box, salvation for Napoli, despair for S.C Braga.

Napoli’s second game of the UEFA Champions League group stages ended in a 3-2 defeat after a keenly contested match against Spanish heavyweights Real Madrid. Napoli went ahead 19 minutes into the first half after Leo Ostigaard powered in his effort on the rebound and into the roof of the net. Real Madrid drew level in the 27th minute through Vinicius Junior as the Brazilian coolly slotted in his effort beyond the reach of Meret in the Napoli goal. 

Jude Bellingham’s superb solo run and finish put Los Blancos ahead going into halftime. Napoli began the second half full of endeavor and their efforts caused problems for Real Madrid as Nacho was penalized after a lengthy VAR check for handling the ball while executing a last-ditch tackle on the relentless Napoli striker Victor Oshimen. 

Piotr Zielinski stepped up for Napoli and smashed in from twelve yards, drawing Napoli level in the 54th minute before Federico Velverde’s rocket shot from 25 yards forced Meret into an unfortunate concession as the Napoli goalkeeper punched the shot onto the crossbar before the rebound ricocheted off his head and into the back of the net. Napoli bounced back from the Real Madrid defeat with a 1-0 victory over Champions League debutants Union Berlin with Giacomo Raspadori scoring the only goal of the match in the 65th minute. A 1-1 draw in the reverse fixture against the German side and another victory over S.C Braga proved enough to see Napoli into the knockout rounds.

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Head-to-head statistics reveal that FC Barcelona and Napoli have played a total of six matches between them. The Catalans have won four of the matches (15 goals scored). While Napoli has not recorded any wins, they have managed two draws (6 goals scored).

Match tickets

This blockbuster match-up at the Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys in Barcelona is set to kick off on Tuesday, March 12, 2024, at 20:00 GMT.

This 55,926-capacity stadium is set to showcase what promises to be an enthralling encounter. 

Getting tickets for the Barcelona vs SS Napoli tickets could take a lot of work given the standard of this game. Hence, you are advised to search ticket reselling sites should they be expectedly sold out on each club’s channels. 

Team news

Line-ups

Xavi’s Barcelona implements a rigid build-up structure that usually manifests in a diamond shape. Injury absences include Alonso (back), Ter Stegen (back), Pedri (muscle), Alonso (back), Raphinha (thigh) and Martinez (muscle)

Barcelona XI: Pena, Kounde, Araujo, Christensen, Balde, Roberto, Gundongan, de Jong, Felix, Lewandoski, Yamal

Napoli looks to condense all areas of the pitch through close diamond shape constructions, making good use of positional play, and is quick to narrow in transition to close any gaps available for exploitation. Injured players include Natan (shoulder), Meret (hamstring), and Olivera (knee)

Napoli XI: Gollini, Di Lorenzo, Rrhamani, Jesus, Rui, Cajuste, Lobotka, Gaetano, Politano, Simeone, Kvaratskhelia

Prediction

Both Barcelona and Napoli will be looking to come out on top of this one and it is fair to say that both teams possess enough firepower in their respective arsenals to progress beyond this round. In the end, it might come down to who wants it more on the night.

Barcelona 2-1 Napoli

Football writer at AllSoccer. Graduate of Computer Science from Kenule Beeson Saro-Wiwa Polytechnic. Dreamt of becoming a footballer, find self writing about football.

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