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Lewandowksi and Osimhen trade goals as Barcelona draw 1-1 at Napoli in 1st leg of CL last 16

Associated Press Thursday, 22 February 2024, 07:12 Last update: about 3 months ago

It was hyped as a matchup between high-scoring center 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.

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“We conceded practically nothing besides that goal,” Barcelona coach Xavi Hernández said. “I really liked the way team played.”

The second leg is scheduled for March 12 in Spain.

Porto beat Arsenal 1-0 in the night's other match.

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 kickoff by the struggling Serie A champion.

“It was a good performance against a strong team with great players,” Di Lorenzo said. “We were solid. It’s a good starting point.

“We had practically 1½ training sessions (with Calzona),” Di Lorenzo added. “This was a small step forward.”

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

“Victor is a great champion, a great professional, and he can give us a hand,” Di Lorenzo said.

Barcelona is back in the knockout rounds after two consecutive group-stage eliminations. It still had Lionel Messi the last time it made it to the round of 16.

Barcelona has been eliminated in the Copa del Rey, is eight points behind leader Real Madrid in the Spanish league and Xavi recently announced he will leave the club at the end of the season.

Napoli has won only one of its last six matches and is only ninth in the Italian league standings, which led to Walter Mazzarri being fired on Monday.

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

Barcelona has never lost to Napoli in five meetings, all since February 2020.

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