Both teams had several chances in the first half but it was Napoli who looked like the better side for most of the first 20 or so minutes. A few early chances from Lorenzo Insigne and Dries Mertens should have put Napoli up at least 1-0 but neither could convert and it eventually led to Barcelona getting a few chances on the counter. In the 39th minute those counter attacks finally paid off when Riqui Puig found Sergio Busquets on the edge of the box with a great extra pass and Busquets curled one uncharacteristically into the net. Only a few minutes later though, Napoli finally converted one of their chances. Even though it will go down as an own goal by Barcelona’s Samuel Umtiti, Jose Callejon found himself free with the ball inside the box and put the shot on goal, only for Umtiti to place it in the back of the net trying to clear it.
The second half was similar to the first half as it took both teams a little time to ease into the game. Neither team had any quality chances in the first 20 minutes but it was Barcelona who controlled most of the ball. Their control paid off in the 79th minute when Ivan Rakitic pounced on the half volley at the edge of the box and blasted one into the lower left corner, leaving the Napoli goalie Alex Meret no chance. Barca continued to control the rest of the half with the likes of Ousmane Dembélé, Frenkie De Jong and the goalkeeper Neto playing some of their finest football. They saw the match through and went on to win 2-1.
Stars of the Match:
The Barcelona goalkeeper was absolutely spectacular in this match as he put in a full 90 minute shift with several spectacular saves. He kept Barcelona in control of the match and frustrated Napoli all night, as many other goalkeepers would have conceded at least one or two more than he did and the goal they conceded was far from his fault. Neto made a strong case for man of the match tonight.
Although he didn’t register a goal or an assist in tonight’s match and he only played the second half, Dembélé was everywhere. He constantly caught Napoli on the break, was terrorizing them down the left flank and could have even scored a few goals as he had a great curling effort hit the post and another just float wide. He made a good case for his place in the squad for this upcoming season.
Rakitic was one of the few Barcelona players who played the full 90 minutes and he made an impact from start to finish. He scored the game-winning goal in the 79th minute off a fantastic half volley from the edge of the box. He was constantly feeding the ball forward to Barcelona’s forwards and kept total control of the midfield.
These two teams will square off one more time on Saturday August 10th in Ann Arbor, Michigan.