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Osimhen Offers Hope and a Draw for Napoli and Barcelona

NAPLES: Victor Osimhen was called “a huge player” after scoring the goal that handed the Italian champions a 1-1 draw with Barcelona to celebrate his return to the team and raise the prospect that an awful season may be coming to an end.

In his first game back from the Africa Cup of Nations, Nigerian attacker Osimhen scored the equalizer with fifteen minutes remaining in the first leg of their Champions League round of sixteen match at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona. With Napoli’s first and only shot on goal, the 25-year-old equalized Robert Lewandowski’s first goal from the 60th minute, which appeared to be the game-winning strike as Barca was the superior team for extended stretches of play.

The captain of Napoli, Giovanni Di Lorenzo, told Amazon Prime Video, “He’s a huge player for us.” “He returned with the appropriate mindset. But since he’s a fantastic player and professional, we knew he would. He’ll assist us in the upcoming contests.

Just before Christmas, Osimhen had made his Napoli debut in a 2-0 loss against Roma, where he was one of two players dismissed from the club. His tenth club goal of the year arrived at a pivotal moment for Napoli, who were facing elimination from the league and were playing under their third manager of the year, Francesco Calzona.

After taking over for Walter Mazzarri on Monday night, Calzona had less than 48 hours to be ready for his first game in command. Osimhen offered Napoli a chance to advance even if his squad played erratically.

Regardless of the team’s performance overall, Napoli knows that having Osimhen in the lineup increases their chances of scoring a goal in the second leg in the Catalan city next month. “It’s a good place to start,” Di Lorenzo said.

“We’ve made progress, and although we still need to do more, we now have a chance in the return leg.” Everybody is playing.

In the meantime, it was Barca’s most recent gaffe during an intricate campaign that will, if president Joan Laporta doesn’t fire coach Xavi before it concludes, see the coach go. Although they had more opportunities, the away team was unable to stop Napoli and would still have to pay for their wastefulness.

Ronald Araujo told Movistar, “We could have won, so we’re a little disappointed with the outcome.” In the final fifteen minutes, Napoli saw a lot of the ball, but they hardly produced any opportunities. That is how the Champions League operates.

In the first few minutes, Barca calmed the originally agitated crowd by controlling the ball and creating shooting opportunities, demonstrating why they were the pre-match favorites. Alex Meret made a great stop to deny teenage wonder Lamine Yamal the opportunity to become the youngest goal scorer in Champions League history in the ninth minute.

The away team had two good chances to take the lead in the 23rd minute. Lewandowski’s flicked finish was stopped by Meret, who then parried Ilkay Gundogan’s long-range effort. Napoli began to exert more of an influence on the game after that, but despite forcing their opponents back, the home team was unable to muster a single attempt on goal before halftime.

Shortly after the restart, Gundogan was pushed through by Yamal before forcing another deft stop from Meret and launching another decent chance. By the hour, Barca had the lead their play deserved thanks to Lewandowski’s superb low finish after Pedri’s ball. Meret had no chance.

As the opposition appeared set to consolidate their lead, Osimhen leapt to equalize the scores and change the energy in the stadium when Inigo Martinez stumbled on the boundary.

Andre-Franco Zambo With the home team’s hopes high, Anguissa and replacement Giovanni Simeone both missed targets, but Barca came just inches away from winning late. Deep into stoppage time, Gundogan’s disappointing goal-scoring evening persisted as his weak attempt went just wide. -AFP

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