Barcelona's ineffectiveness costs them in 1-1 draw against Napoli

Robert Lewandosski's opener was canceled out by Victor Osimhen's equalizer as Barcelona and Napoli play to a draw.

SSC Napoli v FC Barcelona: Round of 16 First Leg - UEFA Champions League 2023/24
SSC Napoli v FC Barcelona: Round of 16 First Leg - UEFA Champions League 2023/24 / Mateo Villalba/GettyImages

Robert Lewandowski's opener in the second half was canceled out by Victor Osihmen as Barcelona and Napoli played to a 1-1 draw in the first leg of the Champions League round of 16 fixture.

For those who have been following Barcelona regularly this season, they saw an all-too familiar scenario play out.

The Catalan side were clearly superior in the opening 30 minutes of the match. They created a handful of decent opportunities to open the score as they pressured Napoli well and were able to connect with their midfielders.

Unable to make good on those goal scoring opportunities, Napoli eased into the game, ending the first half on top.

In the 60th minute, Lewandowski gave the visitors the lead with a trademark finish. It was his fifth goal in the last four games, continuing his streak of scoring important goals for Xavi's side.

As has happened this season, Barcelona seemed to relax somewhat following the goal. It was evident there were some tired legs out there, particularly Andreas Christensen and Pedri, but Xavi decided not to make any substitutions.

In the 75th minute, Osimhen, who had been kept at bay, equalized for the home side. Osimhen received a ball with his back towards goal inside the box, did well to stave off Iñigo Martínez, who went to ground in the "tussle." All alone in front of Marc-Andre ter Stegen, the Napoli striker did not miss.

It was a crushing blow to Barcelona who were the better side as a whole. Up until the equalizer, they kept Napoli to just one shot, none on target.

"We played a very good game," Xavi said after the match. "We did very well with long possessions but we should have slowed down the game when we went 1-0 p. But this is the Champions League. We dominated for 75 minutes but they scored with their first shot at goal. It's not a good result because this was a game to win."

Too often, Barcelona has been their own worst enemy. They pick the most inopportune time to switch off and this was yet another example. Barcelona need five or six chances to score where the opponent only needs one.

"The team performed and we created a lot of chances, but we weren't effective, as we haven't been all season," Xavi added. "We generated a lot of chances today. We deserved a lot more than we got. But we lost control of the game after Lewandowski scored."

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Both sides will fancy their chances of getting through to the next round. Napoli are unlikely to play as poorly as they did in the first leg and all the pressure will be on Barcelona. The second leg is scheduled for March 12 at the Montjuic Stadium.