Barcelona v Napoli: Champions League last 16, second leg – live | Champions League

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I once went to this stadium to watch Espanyol v Celta Vigo. Binned off a trip to the local theme park on a college trip and went for pints. Great days.


The players are out and the anthem is being booed.


“Not sure that Xavi is being particularly bold by playing the youngsters,” says
Chris Amirault. “As Sid likes to point out, often these sorts of opportunities result from squad necessity more than courage. Barca haven’t been able to put together a strong team for much of the season, and the loss of Gavi in particular has left Xavi scrambling to create new shapes with whomever they have. Time for the (even younger) kids to shine. Or… you know…”

I would have thought Inigo Martinez on the bench would seem a more experienced option in this situation, especially having played 90 minutes at the weekend.


“Congrats to you and Mrs. U on 9 years,” cheers Justin Madson. “Just got married this past fall so I haven’t had to make that decision (mistake?)…. yet.

“Anyways, just wanted to say that the pre-match coverage in the US is so awful I’d rather watch nothing than try to struggle through Micah Richards and Jamie Carragher having “bantz”. I really wish that executives in the US were more in tune with quality football announcing instead of trying to recreate the insufferable announcers of other US sports. Maybe then US football fans won’t be told they’re dumb by their team captain (sorry, not buying her apology on that one).”

I have James Horncastle pitchside and Glenn Hoddle in the studio. It’s lovely.


Barcelona’s side is not the fear-inducing starting XI of years gone by but there’s plenty of quality in there. It will be interesting how the younger players do under such pressure. Barcelona can’t afford to fail in the Champions League.


Have a big of Nick Ames in Serbia, too.


Xavi has given 17-year-old centre-back Pau Cubarsí his Champions League debut. A bold move in such a big match.


So … today is my ninth anniversary with Mrs U. I offer you the question: what sporting occasion have you chosen over a personal event (or vice versa)?


Pre-match reading from Sid Lowe.


Starting lineups

Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Koundé, Araujo, Cubarsí, Cancelo; Fermín López, Christensen, Gündogan; Lamine Yamal, Lewandowski, Raphinha.

Subs: Iñaki Peña, Astralaga, H. Fort, Iñigo Martínez, Sergi Roberto, Romeu, Casadó, Unai, Vitor Roque, Joao Félix, Marc Guiu

Napoli: Meret; Di Lorenzo, Rrahmani, Juan Jesus, Mario Rui; Zambo Anguissa, Lobotka, Traorè; Politano, Osimhen, Kvaratskhelia.

Subs: Contini, Gollini, Natan, Olivera, Simeone, Cajuste, Ngonge, Lindstrom, Mazzocchi, Ostigard, Raspadori



After a draw in the first leg, we are set for a fascinating evening at Montjuic. It still seems a little strange to see Barcelona not playing at Camp Nou and the atmosphere has taken a hit but with scores level we can expect the former Olympic stadium to be rather lively tonight.

Barcelona’s form is a little up and down. They edged past Mallorca at the weekend after a draw in Bilbao but there is no doubting the quality available to Xavi who will be hoping everything clicks into place tonight.

Napoli are unbeaten in five in Serie A but that includes three draws and they have been incredibly patchy all season, which explains why they sit seventh in the league table. Their year rides on how they do in the Champions League.

It might not be a classic tonight but it will certainly be intriguing.

Kick-off: 8pm GMT

Barcelona is awash with fans long before kick-off. Photograph: Albert Gea/Reuters
Outside the stadium, things turn confrontational. Photograph: Albert Gea/Reuters
Police officers are seen outside the stadium reacting to escalating events. Photograph: Albert Gea/Reuters

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