Underdogs Napoli host Barcelona in exciting Champions League Round of 16 tie


Napoli certainly come into their match against Barcelona as underdogs. But with the first leg being played at the Stadio Sao Paolo, it can surely play into Napoli’s favour.

Napoli finished second in their Champions League group, as they were piped to top-spot by European champions Liverpool by one point. They are undefeated in the Champions League this season winning three games and drawing three games. The Gli Azzuri have looked to have a bit of a revival during the last week.

They are currently unbeaten in three games and recently beat Brescia 2-1. Goals from Fabian Ruiz and Lorenzo Insigne secured the win for them.

Barca also remained unbeaten in the Champions League group stage. The Catalan club picked up four wins and two draws. They beat Borussia Dortmund, Inter Milan and Slavia Praha to top group F. Barca are currently top of La Liga ahead of Real Madrid by two points, most recently beating Eibar 5-0 in the league.

Team news

Napoli will be without their main centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly who is injured. Kevin Malcuit is also out with an injury and unlikely to feature in this game.

Barcelona will be without two attackers. Luis Suarez and Ousmane Dembele have both been ruled out of action for at least the next six months. Full-backs Sergi Roberto and Jordi Alba are also out with injuries.

Napoli manager Gennaro Gattuso has called for his team to adopt a positive mindset in the first leg of their Champions League Round of 16 tie on Tuesday night:

“We know we’re going to be playing against an extraordinary team tomorrow and we’re well aware that it’s going to be very tough, but that said I don’t want to see any fear from the players,” he said. “We have maximum respect for Barcelona, but I want us to show no fear and play positively. The most important thing for me is that we continue to play as a team, as we have been recently.

“When you play as a team, you know you can give your all, regardless of the opposition. Barcelona are so good that sometimes it feels like they’re playing a different sport, but we need to make sure we dig in when we need to and play our game when we have the chance to.”

Barcelona manger Quique Setien still believes Liverpool and Roma defeats are haunting his players:

“The reality is that we’ve spoken very little about [Roma and Liverpool], although I’m sure they’ll have it in their minds,” Setien said.

“Maybe it’s not comparable. We’ve experienced incredibly tough games and I think the team is fine.

“The team is confident that we’ll continue in this dynamic, I trust that we’ll maintain the level that we’ve been giving for some time.”


Tuesday night’s Champions League fixture will represent the first time that these two clubs have faced each other in a competitive match.


About Author

EFL/EPL and F1 writer. @AdrianKitaMedia on Twitter for any comments regarding my pieces on Prost International.

Comments are closed.