Creative Soccer Culture

Framed #154 | Barcelona v Napoli

With pre-season preparations continuing, La Liga giants Barcelona and Serie A side Napoli met at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami for what was the first of a two-leg exhibition series between the European teams. No Messi in sight for this one, but that didn’t stop the fans coming out in force for the Catalan club in particular, as we settled in for a fixture that was perfect on paper for our ‘Framed’ series.

Despite the 4,685 mile distance between Barcelona and Miami, the La Liga side were made to feel quite at home in Florida, with the majority of the 57,062 crowd at the Hard Rock Stadium voicing their support for the Spanish side. Despite the absence of the injured Messi, Barca fielded a strong team that included new signing Antoine Griezmann. But Napoli came into the match on the back of wins against Liverpool and Marseille, and their counter-attacking was always going to be a threat for the young Barca backline.

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Barcelona had more possession, but Napoli always looked dangerous on the break. The opener came from an unlikely source, with captain Busquets passing a the ball into the bottom corner from outside the area. But Napoli rallied and a slick attack saw Samuel Umtiti turning the ball into his own net just before half time. Barça brought on De Jong and Dembélé with 25 minutes to go, and it shifted the dynamic of the game, with the Frenchman running at people and providing a real threat. And after a slick bit of possession, it was Rakitic who came up with the winner. 

The sides play again on Saturday in Ann Arbor, Michigan, with the winner by aggregate score set to earn the inaugural La Liga-Serie A Championship trophy. Much coveted.

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Photography by Ted Brooks and Ale Gonzalez-Zabala for SoccerBible.

Daniel Jones

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