After an unexpected result in San Paolo, FC Barcelona goes into El Clasico in big trouble for a very important reason.
FC Barcelona was expected to win easily in San Paolo, they are in big trouble for next weekend’s El Clasico. The Catalan club was apparently doing relatively well before their trip to the South of Italy.
Lionel Messi was fresh off a stellar performance in La Liga and he was supposed to get motivated tonight. Performing at the house that Diego Maradona built was more than enough motivation for him to deliver a great performance.
But Genaro Gattuso wasn’t having any of the misplaced hype, he was ready to face this opponent. The final result of the game wasn’t a good reflection of what happened on the pitch.
In fact, FC Barcelona should’ve lost the match because of their inability to seal the result throughout the 90 minutes. There is supposed to be a massive difference between these two clubs. But Napoli still managed to play their own style in order to make Barcelona suffer.
The whole outcome of the game comes down to three specific moments. Three situations for FC Barcelona and one for Napoli. Let’s start with the visiting squad, shall we?
Barcelona will lose two players for the return leg.
During the game, Sergio Busquets received a yellow card that automatically suspends him for the return leg. Arturo Vidal got himself involved in an altercation with a Napoli player and got sent-off during the game.
Both players are set to miss the return game at Camp Nou with Barcelona only having 14 available players on the roster. This means that the Catalan club only has 12 footballers to play the return leg at Camp Nou.
However, this isn’t even the worst part of the mess that they got themselves into. Near the end of the game. Gerard Pique got a nasty ankle sprain that took him off the game.
If the injury is as serious as it looked. He will likely miss El Clasico this weekend. Losing Poque for one of the most important games of the season is the least ideal scenario for FC Barcelona.
This is the match that could decide who will finish at the top of the table in La Liga. The only upside to this is Real Madrid’s most recent results that are also below what everybody expects.
Napoli played with everything they had.
We also have to give mad props to Genaro Gattuso for what he did during the 90 minutes. The Italian manager has been heavily criticized in Mexico for not playing Hirving Lozano from the start of the game.
However, this decision hasn’t affected Napoli’s level of performance tonight. FC Barcelona was a formidable opponent that was expected to defeat them in San Paolo.
But Gattuso was the smartest of the game and he outclassed Quique Setien. In fact, the Italian club could’ve defeated Barcelona if Dries Mertens hadn’t injured himself during the second half.
The Belgian forward made history by scoring his 121st goal as a Napoli player, reaching Marek Hamsik’s record. FC Barcelona will have a hard time winning at Camp Nou on the return leg.
But for now, El Clasico is what matters the most for the Blaugrana. This game in San Paolo gave Barcelona a heavy toll after the final whistle. These things tend to happen pretty often in the Champions League. Results tend to be unexpected and the most unimaginable things can take place.
How will FC Barcelona cover for Gerard Pique’s possible absence for next weekend’s El Clasico? Please share your opinion in the comment section down below.