Champions League: Barcelona back in quarterfinals; Arsenal beat Porto

Champions League could be Barcelona's last realistic chance for a title this season

barcelona-afp Barcelona players celebrate their third goal against Napoli during the Champions League last 16 second leg football match, in Barcelona | AFP

Four years later, Barcelona are again celebrating a triumph in the knockout stage of the Champions League. The five-time European champions returned to the quarterfinals with a 3-1 win over Napoli on Tuesday.

Fermin Lopez, Joao Cancelo and Robert Lewandowski scored for Barcelona as they advanced 4-2 on aggregate after a 1-1 draw in the first leg in Italy three weeks ago.

Amir Rrahmani scored for Napoli, who couldn't repeat their last-eight appearance from last season, when they won a knockout round for the first time.

Barcelona had been eliminated in the group stage the last two years and hadn't reached the quarterfinals since 2019-20, when they lost to Bayern Munich.

In the other Champions League match on Tuesday, Arsenal eliminated Porto in a penalty shootout after a 1-1 aggregate draw.

The Champions League could be Barcelona's last realistic chance for a title this season. They were eliminated in the Copa del Rey and trail Spanish league leaders Real Madrid by seven points. Coach Xavi Hernandez already announced he will leave at the end of the season.

The victory also means extra income for Barcelona, who have been struggling financially recently.

The Catalan club is unbeaten in six meetings with Napoli in all competitions.

They struggled to keep the Italian side from threatening after taking the early lead at Estadi Olimpic Lluis Companys. Goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen, making his 100th UEFA appearance, was tested often by Napoli's attack.

Barcelona had a few chances to increase their lead on counterattacks before Lewandowski sealed the win from close range in the 83rd after an assist by substitute Roberto. Lewandowski has scored 13 goals in his last 13 knockout stage games in the Champions League.

Lopez put the hosts ahead with a shot from the middle of the area in the 15th minute after a low cross by Raphinha, who also set up Cancelo's goal two minutes later. The Brazil forward hit the post from inside the area and the ball bounced back for an easy strike by Cancelo.

Napoli got on the board in the 30th with Rrahmani finding the net with a low left-footed shot for his first European goal.

Barcelona teenager Lamine Yamal had a goal disallowed for offside in the 68th.

The last time Barcelona played in the quarterfinals, they had also eliminated Napoli 4-2 on aggregate in the round of 16.

Xavi still couldn't count on several players because of injuries, including Pedri, Frenkie De Jong and Ferran Torres. He played with 17-year-old Pau Cubars as a central defender, and the teenager was named the man of the match as he helped contain Napoli's attack in his European debut.

The other teams that have advanced to the last eight include Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City.

Meanwhile, David Raya saved Galeno's spot kick to seal the win for Arsenal, who had won the game 1-0 to level the aggregate score at 1-1 on Tuesday.

Wendell also missed his penalty for Porto, hitting the post with his team's second attempt at the Emirates Stadium.

Arsenal trailed 1-0 from the first leg in Portugal when Galeno scored the winner deep into stoppage time, but went level through Leandro Trossard's 41st-minute goal. Neither side could find another goal despite extra time as Porto's disciplined defensive tactics largely held Arsenal at bay.

Arsenal had been eliminated at this stage seven years in a row under Arsene Wenger between 2011-17, the last time the London club played in the competition.

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