Barca turned in a vintage display to beat Napoli 4-2 in their Europa League playoff second leg at the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium on Thursday to advance to the round of 16 by an aggregate score of 5-3.
The visitors wasted little time in taking the lead, with Jordi Alba finishing off a rapid-fire counter-attack in the eighth minute of the game. Frenkie de Jong then curled in an absolute beauty from distance that left Napoli’s Alex Meret rooted to the spot to give Barcelona a 2-0 cushion before 15 minutes.
Napoli found a way back into the game after VAR ruled that Marc-Andre ter Stegen fouled Victor Osimhen in the area and Lorenzo Insigne scored the resulting spot-kick to breathe new life into the home fans.
But Barca struck again before half-time through Gerard Pique. The center-back settled a ball in front of the goal before firing past Napoli goalkeeper Alex Meret to restore Xavi’s side to a two-goal lead after an enthralling opening 45 minutes.
Aubameyang erased any hopes of a comeback from Napoli as he curled a first-time shot into the upper right corner from a pass across the box by Adama Traore.
The hosts managed to score a consolation goal just before full-time through Matteo Politano, but it was too little too late for the Naples side, whose European campaign came to an end on a night when Barcelona were simply the better team.
Barca after beating Napoli will discover their next opponents on Friday, February 25 at 12:00 CET in Nyon, Switzerland.
The list of teams they could face include Crvena zvezda, Eintracht Frankfurt, Galatasaray, Bayer Leverkusen, Lyon, Monaco, Spartak Moskva, and West Ham.