Home Sports Football UCL: Osimhen strike earns Napoli draw with Barca, Porto beat Arsenal

UCL: Osimhen strike earns Napoli draw with Barca, Porto beat Arsenal

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Victor Osimhen made a special return to action for Napoli on Wednesday after his goal gave the Italian champions a 1-1 draw with Barcelona in the last 16 of the Champions League.

Nigeria forward Osimhen rolled home the leveller with 15 minutes left of the first leg at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona in his first match since returning from the African Cup of Nations.

The 25-year-old equalised Robert Lewandowski’s 60th-minute opener, which seemed likely to be the decisive goal as Barca were for long periods the better team. Even so, it was his team’s first shot on target.

Osimhen had last played for Napoli in a 2-0 defeat at Roma just before Christmas, when he was one of two players from his team to be sent off.

His ninth club goal of the season came at a crucial time, not just in the match but in Napoli’s campaign as they play under their third manager of the season in Francesco Calzona.

Calzona had less than 48 hours to prepare for his first match in charge after replacing Walter Mazzarri on Monday night, and Osimhen gave Napoli a chance of progressing despite a disjointed performance by his team.

Napoli heads into next month’s second leg in the Catalan capital knowing that with Osimhen in the team, there is always a chance of a goal regardless of the overall team display.

For Barca meanwhile, it was the latest misstep of a complicated campaign at the end of which coach Xavi will leave, assuming president Joan Laporta doesn’t sack the coach before then.

The away side had the better chances but couldn’t put Napoli away and could yet pay for their wastefulness.

In the other match of the night, Galeno’s late goal ensured FC Porto beat Arsenal 1-0 at the Estadio do Dragao.

It was a tale of leaving the best play for the last when Galeno picked up the ball 35 yards outside of Arsenal’s goal area deep into stoppage time. The Brazilian carried the ball forward before picking his spot and bent a strike beyond Raya’s stretched limbs and into the net.

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