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Victor Osimhen rescues Napoli in Champions League draw against Barcelona

Napoli 1-1 Barcelona: Osimhen’s strike cancelled out Robert Lewandowski’s goal to earn the hosts a draw

The Associated Press
Wednesday 21 February 2024 22:45 GMT
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Victor Osimhen equalised for Napoli after Barcelona took the lead
Victor Osimhen equalised for Napoli after Barcelona took the lead (AP)

It was hyped as a matchup between high-scoring centre forwards Robert Lewandowski and Victor Osimhen and both strikers found the net in a 1-1 draw between Barcelona and Napoli in the first leg of the Champions League round of 16 on Wednesday.

Lewandowski shot through the legs of Napoli captain Giovanni Di Lorenzo and inside the near post on the hour mark for his 93rd goal in the top club competition.

Osimhen replied 15 minutes later with a shot from near the penalty spot after leaving his marker on the ground for his sixth goal in Napoli’s last six home matches in the Champions League.

The second leg is scheduled for March 12 in Spain.

Robert Lewandowski opened the scoring on the hour mark for the visitors but their lead was short lived (EPA)

Napoli had struggled until Osimhen’s goal to construct much of anything in the debut of new coach Francesco Calzona, who was hired only 48 hours before kick off by the struggling Serie A champions.

Osimhen was playing his first match for Napoli since returning from the Africa Cup of Nations, where he helped Nigeria reach the final.

Barcelona are back in the knockout rounds after two consecutive group-stage eliminations. They still had Lionel Messi the last time they made it into the last-16.

Barca have been eliminated in the domestic Copa del Rey, are eight points behind leaders Real Madrid in the La Liga and coach Xavi recently announced he is leaving the club at the end of the season.

Napoli have won only one of their last six matches and are ninth in the Serie A standings, which led to Walter Mazzarri being fired on Monday.

Barcelona controlled the match at the start and produced a series of shots on target that were stopped by Napoli goalkeeper Alex Meret.

They have never lost to Napoli in five meetings, all since February 2020, and will feel hard done by following Osimhen’s second half equaliser.

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