NEWS
Saturday August 10 2019
Napoli and linesman bow to Barcelona

Napoli played a very even first half, but conceded four in an 18-minute spell – two of which were clearly offside – against Barcelona.

This was the second leg of the inaugural La Liga-Serie A Cup, as Barca won 2-1 in Miami on Wednesday night. Arkadiusz Milik was named in the starting XI, but pulled out during the warm-up with a muscular issue and made way for Jose Callejon.

Antoine Griezmann thought he simply had to score when allowed to control a pull-back and pick his spot from seven yards, but drilled wide.

Both teams found it somewhat difficult to play in an arena and on a pitch that was not built for football.

Mertens and Ousmane Dembele had shots charged down from close range by some desperate defending, Faouzi Ghoulam flinging himself in the path of the Frenchman.

There was a bit of spice to the game when Luis Suarez fouled Kostas Manolas, who responded by waving three fingers at him, a reminder of the goal he scored when Roma knocked Barcelona out of the Champions League with a 3-0 result. If you're considering betting on either of these teams to do better in Europe next season, this site could help you out.

Alex Meret got down well to smother a Dembele low drive after he cut inside from the right, then reached up to palm a Suarez effort over the bar from Dembele’s pull-back.

Napoli had their best chance of the half right on the whistle, but everyone missed Simone Verdi’s low cross and Fabian Ruiz somehow prodded it wide at the back post.

Barcelona took the lead straight after the restart with a goal that should’ve been disallowed. Meret managed a sensational save on Griezmann, despite him being clearly offside, and Suarez tapped in the rebound.

Callejon and Dries Mertens didn’t make the most of promising opportunities, but Barcelona scored their second with if possible an even more obvious offside position. It came at the end of a long passing move, but Jordi Alba was clearly offside when he gathered and rolled across for the Griezmann tap-in.

There were no arguments over the third goal, as Dembele set up Luis Suarez for a ferocious rocket into the top corner from the edge of the box.

Dembele then took on substitute Giovanni Di Lorenzo and drilled into the far bottom corner for 4-0, as Napoli visibly stopped playing.

Meret kept the scoreline down with a save on Rafinha’s curler, but the contest was effectively over.

Napoli 0-4 Barcelona (1-6 agg)

Suarez 48, 58 (B), Griezmann 56 (B), Dembele 64 (B)

Napoli: Meret; Hysaj (Di Lorenzo 61), Manolas, Chiriches (Luperto 46), Ghoulam (Mario Rui 61); Allan (Zielinski 46), Elmas (Insigne 46), Verdi (Gaetano 67), Fabian; Mertens, Callejon

Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Semedo (Umtiti 66), Pique (Artur 66), Lenglet, Jordi Alba; Alena (Vidal 66), Sergi Roberto, De Jong; Suarez (Rafinha 66), Dembele (Abel Ruiz 75), Griezmann (Coutinho 66)