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Club Friendlies

  • August 6, 2014
  • • 19:00
  • • Stade de Genève, Carouge
  • Referee: S. Studer
  • • Attendance: 14852
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Live Commentary

  • Both sides played some good stuff, but Napoli proved to be the more resilient - with Koulibaly and Albiol acting as rocks at the heart of their defence. I've been Simon Harrison and I hope to see you again next time.
  • FULL TIME! Napoli beat Barcelona 1-0 in a pre-season friendly in Geneva, with a mistake from Bravo gifting Benitez's men the victory. The Partenopei defended brilliantly, with the Blaugrana unable to find the ray of brilliance required to break their opposition down. Dzemaili's long-range effort proved to be the only thing to separate the two sides.
  • 90' + 2'
    Edgar Ie is robbed of the ball in central midfield, before Napoli play a neat triangle. A pass is slid through for Mertens to chase, but Bravo is first to the ball, sliding in to clear Barca's lines.
  • 90' + 1'
    We will have two minutes of stoppage time.
  • 90'
    Sergi Roberto is poked through on goal, but as the midfielder looks to pull the trigger, Koulibaly slides in to deny the substitute! The former Genk defender has been unplayable this evening, he's got on the end of absolutely everything.
  • 89'
    We're into the dying embers of the game, with Deulofeu looking to be the ray of hope Barcelona need to squeeze their way back into the contest. Napoli continue to battle in midfield, sitting in their shape in disciplined fashion and making it incredibly difficult for their opposition.
  • 87'
    Important clearance from Rafael! Deulofeu delivers a free-kick from the right flank, which the goalkeeper half-clears at the first attempt, before kicking the rebound away from a lurking Sandro! So nearly an equaliser!
  • 86'
    Zuniga spreads play to Mertens on the left, before the Belgium international cuts inside onto his right foot. He shapes to shoot, but is closed down effectively and is forced to play the ball back towards his own goal.
  • 85'
    SubstitutionRaúl Albiol Sebastiano Luperto
  • 85'
    Five minutes is all that remains for Barcelona to find a goal for all of their good work. Napoli have kept it tight at the back and appear able to frustrate the Blaugrana even further. Sandro is denied by a good sliding block, before Albiol is replaced by Luperto.
  • 83'
    GREAT WORK FROM DEULOFEU! The Spaniard dribbles into the penalty area, before earning himself half a yard of space to shoot in front of three Napoli players! He curls one towards the far corner, but Rafael is at full stretch to deny him!
  • 82'
    Barcelona don't have a great deal of time left to level the score here in Geneva, though Bravo will be the most concerned man in the stadium. With Ter Stegen and Masip breathing down his neck in the pecking order, a mistake was the last thing the Chile international needed.
  • 80'
    Goal Blerim Dzemaili
    GOOOOOOAL! DZEMAILI FIRES HOME FROM RANGE! It's a bad mistake from Bravo, who essentially drops the ball into his own net after a half-hearted save! Good hit, but the goalkeeper won't be pleased with himself! Napoli lead 1-0!
  • 79'
    Narrowly over ten minutes remains for either side to break the deadlocks, though both respective coaches have thrown some interesting offensive options into the mix. Deulofeu in particular could create something from nothing, as could Mertens.
  • 77'
    Deulofeu is nearly found by an ambitious long pass, but Albiol steps in brilliant to intercept. Napoli continue to frustrate due to a great defensive performance, but with some pacey options in forward areas who are full of running, Barca might just be able to snatch a late goal.
  • 75'
    SubstitutionRafinha Adama Traoré
  • 75'
    SubstitutionBartra M. Bagnack
  • 75'
    SubstitutionPedro Gerard Deulofeu
  • 75'
    Halilovic attempts to drive down the right-hand side, but Koulibaly is on hand yet again to step in and rob possession from the Croatian youngster. Three more changes for Barca, however, as Adama, Bagnack and Deulofeu come into the fray.
  • 73'
    Bartra threatens to head home from deep in the Partenopei penalty area, but Koulibaly just about gets there ahead of the Barcelona captain to clear behind for a corner. He's been colossal, thus far.
  • 72'
    SubstitutionW. Gargano Camilo Zúñiga
  • 72'
    SubstitutionMarek Hamsik Edu Vargas
  • 72'
    SubstitutionJosé Callejón Blerim Dzemaili
  • 72'
    Pedro lines up a shot from 20 yards out, but Inler is on hand to put in an important block. Benitez makes another change, withdrawing Hamsik in order to introduce Vargas.
  • 71'
    Grimaldo picks out a good pass to slide Sandro in behind the Napoli defensive line, but Koulibaly sticks with his man brilliantly, before outmuscling him and bringing the ball back upfield himself. The former Genk defender has been excellent this evening.
  • 69'
    Fantastic footwork from Pedro! The Spaniard receives the ball from Ie, before skipping past two challenges brilliantly. Play is opened out to Grimaldo on the left-hand side, but the teenager's early cross is terrible and loops clear of the penalty area.
  • 67'
    Inler tries to find Mertens with a scything pass in behind Montoya, but the ball is placed slightly too far behind the former PSV man, who can limply hang out his heel to try and get it under control. Barca are moving the ball very well, with the young players sticking to the club philosophy.
  • 65'
    Sandro now replaces Munir, with the 18-year-old failing to convert from Barcelona's biggest chances of the game. The game might take a while to settle again, given the changes, but there is much more of a tempo now due to fresh legs.
  • 63'
    Enrique is putting his faith in young players, who of course know what is expected of them in this system. Grimaldo can continue to provide width and drive from left-back, while the likes of Samper and Halilovic can retain possession well in central midfield.
  • 61'
    SubstitutionJorginho Dries Mertens
  • 61'
    SubstitutionLorenzo Insigne Gökhan Inler
  • 61'
    Napoli opt to make two changes, introducing Inler and Mertens for Jorginho and Insigne. Barcelona, on the other hand, throw plenty of Barca B personnel into the mix. Ie, Grimaldo, Halilovic, Roberto and Samper are those now involved.
  • 60'
    SubstitutionIvan Rakitic Alen Halilović
  • 60'
    SubstitutionPiqué Edgar Ié
  • 60'
    SubstitutionIniesta Sergi Roberto
  • 60'
    SubstitutionJordi Alba Alex Grimaldo
  • 60'
    SubstitutionBusquets Sergi Samper
  • 60'
    SubstitutionMunir El Haddadi Sandro Ramírez
  • 60'
    Half an hour remains for either side to break the deadlock, with Enrique looking to find the catalyst with a few changes. Plenty of youthful options are about to enter the field of play, in something of a mass exodus for the Blaugrana.
  • 58'
    A few substitutes are readying themselves on the Barcelona bench, as Enrique looks to shuffle his pack somewhat. Callejon breaks down the right well, before playing a pass to his supporting full-back Mesto. The substitute takes an awful touch, allowing for Alba to play the ball off him and out of play for a Barca goal-kick.
  • 56'
    Pedro tries his luck from the edge of the penalty area, after cutting onto his stronger right foot, but can only find the side-netting once again! Rafael is at full stretch, but isn't required to get anything on the shot.
  • 55'
    Barcelona have started the second half in much better fashion, with Pedro, Rafinha and Munir continuing to rotate well and Alba supporting effectively from left-back. Napoli are perhaps struggling to settle down after a few changes.
  • 53'
    Rafinha cuts in from the right-hand side, before letting fly with his left foot! Rafael is easily able to get his body behind the ball and claim, as the Barca forward fails to pick out a corner.
  • 51'
    Pedro fires narrowly wide! Mesto is beaten comprehensively by Alba, who brings down a long pass from Busquets brilliantly, before scampering into the box and squaring a pass inside. The Barca winger hits it first-time, but can only scrape the outside of the near post!
  • 50'
    Alba is found in space on the left-hand side, before cutting a pass into the pass of the supporting Iniesta. The Spain international sees his cross turned behind for a corner. The set piece is half-cleared by Koulibaly, before Pedro fires the rebound into the side-netting - courtesy of a touch from Rafael!
  • 49'
    Enrique has chosen to stick with his starting eleven, as they did give a fairly solid performance in the first half. Rakitic and Iniesta look to provide the inspiration from deep, before setting the bright likes of Rafinha, Munir and Pedro on their way - all while Busquets sits at the base of midfield.
  • 47'
    Three changes for Napoli at the break, as Michu, Ghoulam and Mesto make their way into the side in place of Zapata, Britos and Maggio.
  • 46'
    SubstitutionChristian Maggio Giandomenico Mesto
  • 46'
    SubstitutionDuván Zapata Michu
  • 46'
    SubstitutionMiguel Angel Britos Faouzi Ghoulam
  • 46'
    We're back underway in the second half! Plenty still to play for in Geneva, where we are yet to see the first goal of the evening, but as spaces open up due to fatigue, we might see a few more chances!
  • Munir has had the two big chances for Barcelona, while Iniesta has seen a couple of shots blocked on the edge of the box. Hamsik has gone closest to opening the scoring with a fantastic header, but Bravo was at full stretch to deny the Slovakian midfielder. Be sure to rejoin us in ten minutes time, when there's bound to be plenty of changes!
  • HALF TIME! It's goalless at the break in Geneva, despite a very competitive display from both sides. Barca have kept the ball well, but lacked the cutting edge required to break down a well-drilled Benitez side. Bravo has made the most impressive save of the game, as the Chilean goalkeeper stakes a claim to start in between the posts for the league season.
  • 44'
    Napoli win a corner, which is swept into the near post. Britos rises highest, but fails to turn a looping header towards the target, allowing for Bravo to allow the ball to head behind for a goal-kick.
  • 43'
    Barcelona play a few nice triangles, before Iniesta drives from deep to try and invent something. The Spain international is promptly tackled, as Napoli continue to marshal their half well, making it incredibly difficult for the Blaugrana to create anything without looking over the top.
  • 42'
    Yellow Card Kalidou Koulibaly
  • 41'
    Less than five minutes of the first half remains, with Barca continuing to be frustrated by a brilliant defensive unit. Callejon tries to flick a clever ball over Pique for Zapata to chase, but Bravo comes out quickly to claim. The Barcelona central defender got caught a bit flat-footed there.
  • 39'
    Munir is set on his way once again, but the 18-year-old can only force another save from Rafael! The Barca forward tries to squeeze the ball home from a very tight angle, but is denied by the Brazilian shot-stopper. The resulting corner ends with the referee giving Napoli a free-kick for pushing.
  • 37'
    Gargano and Jorginho are providing an excellent shield ahead of an organised defence, with summer signing Koulibaly looking to be a shrewd acquisition by Benitez. Plenty of aerial power, but also the yard of pace and strength required to shepherd loose balls through to Rafael.
  • 35'
    Ten minutes until the break and neither side looks to be able to find the killer touch to net the game's opening goal. Barcelona are continuing with their patient football, but Napoli are easily able to sit in shape and force errors. Iniesta tries to shoot from range again, but another block is thrown in to deny the midfielder.
  • 33'
    Excellent play from Insigne! The winger drives down the left flank, before cutting back onto his right foot and delivering a teasing right-footed cross! It threatens to land on the forehead of the awaiting Zapata, but the Colombian can't make contact and the delivery bounces behind and straight out of play!
  • 32'
    Rafael makes an important save to deny Munir! Rakitic slides the youngster in behind, giving his teammate acres of space in which to set himself and apply the finish. Napoli's goalkeeper comes out quickly to close the angle, forcing Munir to strike the ball straight into his midriff!
  • 29'
    We're nearly at the half hour mark, but Bravo remains the sole goalkeeper to have been rigorously tested in this contest. Barcelona are looking comfortable when in possession, but the Partenopei have the weapons to deal their opposition damage when breaking quickly.
  • 27'
    Enrique's side are moving the ball fairly nicely, there's definitely something of Pep Guardiola's style about this Barcelona system. Rafinha, Munir and Pedro are being given plenty of freedom to roam, but Napoli's defensive line remains firm for the moment.
  • 25'
    Jorginho tries to slide Insigne in behind with a smart pass, but Bravo races off his line extremely quickly to tackle the Italy international and then calmly find Alba with a pass. The former Real Sociedad 'keeper has given a good account of himself thus far.
  • 24'
    Napoli attempt to release Insigne with an ambitious ball over the top, but Bravo is alert to the danger and claims ahead of the local hero. Barca are starting to dominate somewhat in terms of territory, but Benitez's side look rather dangerous on the break.
  • 23'
    Montoya scurries infield from the right-hand side, but his eventual through ball is cleared behind hurriedly by Britos. Pique rises to try and meet the resulting corner delivery, but Koulibaly gets above him to defuse the situation and send the ball away from the danger zone.
  • 22'
    Iniesta left fly from the edge of the penalty area, but Jorginho puts in an important block to take the sting out of the shot for Rafael. The goalkeeper smothers the ball easily.
  • 21'
    Iniesta looks to find Montoya in behind enemy lines on the right byline, but the full-back can't quite stretch enough to keep his teammate's pass in play. It was a great idea from the Spain international, but the perfect execution wasn't quite forthcoming.
  • 19'
    Napoli aren't to be drawn out, sitting in their shape astutely to ensure that Barca have to probe in order to find gaps to exploit. The supporters are voicing their distaste at such patient football, but the Blaugrana are happy to take their time and retain possession.
  • 17'
    It has certainly been a competitive start from both sides during this game, though the majority of the battling has been done in midfield. Munir is set away by a long pass from Busquets, but Rafael is able to hare off his line to slide in and clear the ball for a throw-in.
  • 15'
    The opening 15 minutes has seen Napoli create the bigger opportunities, with Bravo making the only real save of the game thus far. Iniesta tries to release Munir with a clever lofted pass, but Rafael is able to collect before the youngster gets there.
  • 13'
    GREAT SAVE FROM BRAVO! Callejon picks out Hamsik with a brilliant free-kick delivery, which the Partenopei captain flicks goalwards with a fantastic header! Bravo extends himself to his fullest, to push the ball around the post and behind!
  • 12'
    Rakitic sets Montoya away down the right-hand side, before the right-back delivers a cross first time. Britos heads behind for a corner, which comes to nothing for the Blaugrana.
  • 10'
    Great chance for Insigne! Barcelona switch off, as a free-kick is given against Iniesta for handball, allowing for Hamsik to take the dead ball quickly. He curls a brilliant ball towards the penalty spot, after seeing a good run from his Italian teammate, but Insigne can't quite get on the end of the through ball! Bravo would have been at his mercy!
  • 8'
    Rafinha drives into the Napoli penalty area, before sliding a pass out to Pedro on his left. The Spaniard skips inside one challenge, before being stopped in his tracks by a sliding tackle from Albiol. The former Celta Vigo loanee appeals for handball, but the referee isn't interested.
  • 7'
    Rakitic again tries to work the channel and play an incisive pass in between Albiol and Maggio, but Alba can't quite get there quickly enough to trouble the Napoli defence. Plenty of interesting ideas from deep areas from Rakitic thus far.
  • 5'
    It appears that Rafinha is leading the line for Barcelona in the early stages, with Munir out on the right instead. No real chances in the opening five minutes, but there has been some nice, flowing passing movements.
  • 4'
    It appears that Koulibaly is slotting in at left-back for Napoli, with Miguel Britos starting in his more familiar position in central defence. Possession is being exchanged fairly regularly, though both sides are keen to keep the ball down and play football.
  • 2'
    A slightly cagey start to proceedings in a rather quiet stadium, though Barcelona enjoy the early possession. Rakitic tries to find Rafinha in behind Britos with an ambitious pass, but the ball is intercepted smartly by Albiol.
  • 1'
    We are underway in the first half! Napoli are wearing sky blue, while Barca are also in their home strip, donning the red and navy blue strips for which they are famous for! No Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez or Neymar, but we should be in for a treat nevertheless!
  • Less than ten minutes remain until kick-off, so be sure to stick around for all of the action, as two European title contenders look to battle it out in Geneva, both aiming to gain some momentum and avoid injuries before their respective curtain-raisers in the coming weeks.
  • Napoli, meanwhile, have a few key men yet to be thrown into the mix themselves. Benitez has admitted that new signing Michu offers his side something different in offensive areas, while Argentina international Gonzalo Higuain is yet to return to action due to only coming back into the fold with Mariano Andujar and Federico Fernandez very recently.
  • This evening is a huge opportunity for certain young players to show Luis Enrique that they are mature enough, and have the ability, to ply their trade in the first team this season. Given Barca's participation in plenty of competitions, rotation is key and therefore individuals definitely have a chance to prove their worth.
  • Barcelona substitutes: Ter Stegen, Masip, Roberto, Deulofeu, Edgar Ie, Grimaldo, Samper, Halilovic, Adama, Sandro, Bagnack, Mathieu.
  • Barcelona starting line-up: Bravo; Montoya, Pique, Bartra, Alba; Rakitic, Busquets, Iniesta; Rafinha, Munir, Pedro.
  • Napoli starting line-up: Rafael; Maggio, Albiol, Koulibaly, Britos; Gargano, Jorginho; Callejon, Hamsik, Insigne, Duvan.
  • TEAM NEWS: After Marc-Andre Ter Stegen's 90 minutes last time out, Chilean goalkeeper Claudio Bravo is given the nod for today's game. Martin Montoya survives an injury scare to start at right-back, while Ivan Rakitic gets a start in central midfield. Rafinha and Pedro will provide the width for the Blaugrana, allowing for 18-year-old Munir to lead the line despite his tender years.
  • TEAM NEWS: Rafael starts in between the posts for the Partenopei, with Mariano Andujar not seeing a start despite completing his part-ownership move from Catania this summer. New signing Kalidou Koulibaly partners Raul Albiol in the centre of defence, while Miguel Britos slots in at the slightly unfamiliar role of left-back. Duvan Zapata starts as a lone striker, with the creative likes of Jose Callejon, Marek Hamsik and Lorenzo Insigne supporting him.
  • I'm Simon Harrison and I will be keeping you up to date with all of the action, as Luis Enrique and Rafa Benitez attempt to gauge how prepared their respective sides are for the coming campaign. Several summer signings are on show, with excitement the main emotion linked to both camps, given that the ability within their respective squads should result to two fruitful seasons.
  • Hello and welcome to live coverage of Barcelona's pre-season friendly against Napoli in Geneva, as both sides look to gear up to the rapidly approaching league season in winning fashion. As players begin to return from World Cup duty, the amount of quality on show only continues to increase, with two very strong starting elevens ready to battle it out this evening.