Barça, Sevilla, Rangers reach Europa League last 16
Sports Desk, Feb 24 (EFE).- FC Barcelona dominated Napoli 4-2 Thursday in the second leg of their Europa League round of 32 tie to prevail 5-3 on aggregate.
Also advancing to the final 16 were Sevilla, who have won the competition a record six times; Real Betis; Atalanta; Rangers; Porto; RB Leipzig; and Braga.
Putting behind them the disappointing 1-1 draw in the first leg at Camp Nou, Barça delivered an impressive performance at Diego Armando Maradona Stadium in Naples.
The visitors jumped out to a 2-0 lead on goals inside the first 13 minutes by Jordi Alba and Frenkie de Jong before Napoli caught a break in the form of a penalty after Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen fouled Victor Osimhen.
Lorenzo Insigne converted to halve the deficit for Napoli, but Barça remained relentless on the attack and Gerard Pique made it 3-1 for the LaLiga side in the final minute of the first half.
The fourth goal came just before the hour mark from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Matteo Politano’s goal for Napoli in the 87th minute proved to be too little, too late.
Europa League specialists Sevilla are through to the round of 16 despite losing 1-0 Thursday to Dinamo Zagreb.
While the Spanish team had a 3-1 advantage from the first leg in Seville, the return fixture in the Croatian capital was anything but comfortable.
Mislav Orsic put Dinamo on the board in the 64th minute, scoring from the spot after Sevilla were penalized for a hand ball. The goal energized the hosts, but the visitors managed to hang on for the 3-2 aggregate result.
The other LaLiga club from Seville, Real Betis, eked out a 0-0 draw against Zenit St. Petersburg to win the tie 3-2 on aggregate.
Betis had some nervous seconds when Dmitri Chistyakov put the ball in the back of their net in the final minute of regulation, but the goal was disallowed for a foul by an attacking player.
Rangers, who stunned Borussia Dortmund 4-2 in the first leg on German soil, recovered from a shaky opening 45 minutes to draw 2-2 on the night for the 6-4 victory on aggregate.
James Tavernier had a brace for the hosts at the Ibrox, while Jude Bellingham and Donyel Mallen scored for Dortmund.
Upstart Moldovan side Sheriff came into Thursday’s second leg against Braga with a 2-0 edge. But the Portuguese club blanked the visitors by the identical margin and after 120+ minutes, the teams remained deadlocked 2-2.
Host keeper Matheus stopped two Sheriff penalty-takers and a third just missed to send Braga through to the final 16.
Leipzig, who managed only a 2-2 draw at home to Real Sociedad in the first leg, were clearly the better squad Thursday in San Sebastian, where they won 3-1 to prevail 5-3 on aggregate.
After taking the first leg 2-1, Porto equaled Lazio 2-2 on Thursday to win the tie 4-3. EFE