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Napoli is all set to welcome Barcelona for the second leg play-off battle, in the Europa League 2021-22 knock-out stage.
Both the teams are equally poised at this stage, as they played out a well-fought 1-1 draw in the first leg at Camp Nou. Playing for the first time in the Europa League, Barcelona was looking like it was extending the poor form here too, by conceding a lead in the 29th minute. However, Barca was able to level the scores in the 59th minute, thanks to a penalty goal by Ferran Torres.
The team has however managed to return to winning ways since then, beating Valencia 4-1 in an easy win over the weekend. This victory has ensured that Barcelona still remains in the top 4, just above current Champions Atletico Madrid, who too are at 42 points.
Napoli, however, had no such luck over the weekend, as it again played out a 1-1 draw against Cagliari in its weekend clash at the Serie A. This was Napoli’s third consecutive draw across competitions, and a frustrating one, as it remains in the third spot on the Serie A table, tied at points with current Champions Inter Milan. A victory against Cagliari would have allowed them to overtake Inter, and move closer to AC Milan, which enjoys a 2 point lead.
Match prediction and betting tips for SSC Napoli vs F. C. Barcelona Europa League 2021-22. The match is going to be played at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona, Naples, on 24th February 2022.
The next couple of weeks is pretty important for Napoli, as, after the second leg match, the club is all set to take on Lazio and AC Milan, in what could decide the outcome of the Italian championships. Having crashed out on 4 out of the last 7 knockout stages in the Europa League, Napoli will be eager to secure a victory this time around. The hosts have a long list of injures, with Lorenzo, Lozano, Politano, Kevin Malcuit, Zambo Anguissa, Lorenzo Insigne likely to miss out on this key game.
Xavi will be missing out on regular absentees, including Ansu Fati, Samuel Umtiti, Balde, and Sergi Roberto. Eric Garcia and de Jong could also miss the bus to Naples. Gerard Pique is likely to make a comeback after serving his suspension. The team will be heavily relying on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who scored a hat trick against Valencia, to give them an early lead.
Napoli, despite its compromised lineup, will most likely be able to score on its home ground. But the visitors, who are desperate for some silverware this season, are more likely to win this tie and advance to the next round.
Bet on Barcelona to win.