Antoine Griezmann’s second-half equaliser handed Barcelona an important away objective and earned them a 1-1 draw at Napoli of their Champions League last-16 first leg assembly on Tuesday.
An outstanding curling strike from Dries Mertens put the house facet in entrance after half an hour and noticed the Belgian draw degree with Marek Hamsik as Napoli’s all-time high scorer with 121 targets.
However Barca breached a well-drilled Napoli defence within the 57th minute when Griezmann fired in a Nelson Semedo cross.
The guests ended the sport with 10 males after Arturo Vidal was despatched off late on for selecting up two yellow playing cards in fast succession.
The 2 sides, who have been going through one another for the primary time, will meet once more on the Camp Nou for the second leg on March 18 with Barca now agency favourites to progress regardless of having Vidal and Sergio Busquets suspended for the return.
Napoli coach Gennaro Gattuso was left annoyed on the consequence after his well-drilled defence largely stifled a quiet Lionel Messi and co.
“I think they barely grazed us tonight, they hardly had a single shot on goal,” he informed Sky Sport Italia. “They could’ve been there all night and not scored, but we conceded after one single error. They didn’t hurt us, it barely tickled.”
Barcelona dominated possession from the primary whistle however struggled to search out their method by means of the well-organised Italians, who then struck with their first significant assault of the sport.
Junior Firpo misplaced the ball to Piotr Zielinski and the midfielder pulled a cross throughout to the ready Mertens, who took a contact simply exterior the field earlier than curling in a landmark objective, his sixth in seven Champions League video games this season.
However the Belgian limped off by means of damage early within the second half after a hefty sort out from Busquets, which earned the midfielder the yellow card that can rule him out of the second leg.
Barca quickly equalised when Griezmann fired residence from shut vary after a neat passing transfer from the guests however Napoli responded with Lorenzo Insigne and Jose Callejon each being denied by glorious saves from Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
Within the 89th minute, Vidal was booked for a foul on Mario Rui and was instantly proven a second yellow for butting heads with the defender within the aftermath.
With Sunday’s La Liga Clasico towards Actual Madrid looming, Barca have been additionally left with considerations over defender Gerard Pique, who limped off with an damage after falling closely on his ankle.
“We’ll see what problem he has, then we can confirm if he’ll be available,” stated Barcelona coach Quique Setien.
On Vidal’s sending off, he added: “I didn’t see precisely what happened, but perhaps the referee was a bit harsh. A yellow card for the foul is one thing, but the second is too much. There are moments of tension that players who experience the game with his temperament can have.”