Robert Lewandowski scored a crucial late goal as a nervy Barcelona edged into the Champions League quarter-finals with a 3-1 win over Napoli.

Lewandowski’s 83rd-minute effort finally finished off the Italians at the Lluis Companys Olympic Stadium with Barca progressing 4-2 on aggregate.

Barca had stormed ahead with goals in quick succession from Fermin Lopez and Joao Cancelo but Napoli hit back through Amir Rrahmani and were threatening an equaliser before Lewandowski had the last word.

Napoli striker Victor Osimhen had the first chance of what proved an open game but failed to trouble Marc-Andre Ter Stegen before Lopez dragged a shot wide at the other end.

That proved a sighter for Lopez, who opened the scoring after 15 minutes following a flowing Barca move.

Cancelo was involved on the left before Raphinha reached the byline and pulled the ball back invitingly in front of goal. Lewandowski cleverly left the ball for the inrushing Lopez and he sidefooted firmly home.

Barca doubled their lead just two minutes later after Lamine Yamal controlled a high ball on the edge of his own box and launched a rapid counter-attack.

He broke deep into Napoli territory and then released Raphinha, who cut inside on to his right foot and thumped a shot against the post. As the ball rebounded, Cancelo was on hand to tuck away.

It seemed the Catalan giants were cruising but Napoli served warning they were not out of the contest as Osimhen tested Ter Stegen, although he was given offside.

The Italian side grabbed a goal back after 30 minutes as Matteo Politano pulled the ball back across the area and Rrahmani met it with a nice left-foot finish.

They then threatened an equaliser before the break as Giovanni Di Lorenzo got forward but Ter Stegen tipped over his dipping header.

Napoli pushed again after the break and wanted a penalty after Osimhen went down following a challenge from Pau Cubarsi but nothing was given.

Barca were forced to defend deep and struggled to get out of their half until Raphinha forced Alex Meret to save from a free-kick after 67 minutes.

Yamal then turned the ball into the net after a Lewandowski header was saved but it was ruled out for offside.

Ilkay Gundogan had a shot on the turn saved by Meret as Barca began to regain control but they were almost caught out when Jesper Lindstrom planted a header narrowly wide for Napoli.

Lewandowski claimed Barca’s decisive third goal seven minutes from time with a close-range finish after neat interplay between Gundogan and Sergi Roberto.

Napoli were not quite done as substitute Mathias Olivera rattled the woodwork and Khvicha Kvaratskhelia sent a ferocious drive inches wide, but Barca had done enough.

Xavi is not expecting Getafe to sit back at Camp Nou when they face his Barcelona side on Saturday.

Nothing else but three points will do for Barca if they are to keep their flagging La Liga title hopes alive, as they trail their bitter rivals Real Madrid by eight points with 13 games to go.

Xavi, who will leave his position as head coach at the end of the season after a difficult campaign, does not think a win will be easily achieved by his team against a Getafe side who occupy 10th spot.

“Getafe are not a defensive team, they are a brave team,” he said at his pre-match press conference on Friday.

“They press very high up the pitch and they have picked up points at some tricky away grounds. They always compete and (coach Jose) Bordalas always gets the most out of his players, and that is worthy of praise.

“The points are very important for the battle for the league title. As long as we are mathematically involved, we will fight for it. Each week is a different story. We can’t drop points, less so at home.

“We would go to be in second place in the table (above Girona) and that will put more pressure on Girona and Real Madrid, who play later. We are not throwing in the towel, even though we know that it will be tough.”

Barcelona come into the match after a 1-1 draw away to Napoli in the first leg of their Champions League last 16 tie on Wednesday.

“We will see how we come into the game, but it is the moment for the best players,” Xavi added.

“We will make some changes but not many, because it is a vital match. It would have been better to play on Sunday or Monday but that is no excuse.”

Barcelona are without Alejandro Balde (hamstring), who is sidelined for the rest of the season, while Marcos Alonso remains unavailable due to lower back pain, which has meant Joao Cancelo being forced to play at left-back.

“He is playing very well both on the left and on the right, his contribution is fantastic,” Xavi said about Cancelo.

“The instructions I give him are because sometimes he plays too high or too low. Also because he is closer to the bench for me (to communicate with). But he is a leader too, we are very happy with him.”

Barcelona defender Joao Cancelo faces a spell on the sidelines after suffering knee ligament damage.

Cancelo was forced off after 11 minutes of Barcelona’s 2-1 LaLiga victory at Las Palmas on Thursday.

“Tests carried out on Friday show that first-team player Joao Cancelo has a strained medial collateral ligament in his left knee,” read a Barcelona statement.

“He is unavailable for selection and his recovery will dictate his return.”

Barcelona are in action again on Sunday, against Barbastro in the Copa del Rey, with their next league game at Real Betis on January 21.

Portugal international Cancelo, 29, has made 22 appearances and scored three goals for Barcelona since joining on loan from Manchester City last September.

Ilkay Gundogan scored a stoppage-time penalty to give Barcelona a 2-1 win at Las Palmas and close the gap at the top of LaLiga.

After Barca saw defender Joao Cancelo forced off early on with a knee injury, Munir El Haddadi put the Canary Islanders ahead against his former club.

Ferran Torres equalised soon after the restart before Gundogan slotted in a dramatic late winner from the penalty spot after being pushed over by Daley Sinkgraven, who was shown a red card, to leave Barca seven points behind leaders Real Madrid and Girona.

Brazil forward Vitor Roque was named on the bench after Barcelona received league clearance on the 18-year-old forward’s 40million euro (£35m) move from Athletico Paranaense.

There was an early injury worry for Barca when Cancelo was forced off for some treatment on a knee problem. Although the Portugal defender came back on, he did not last long and was replaced by Andreas Christensen.

Las Palmas soon took the lead in the 12th minute when former Barca striker El Haddadi swept in a low cross from fellow Blaugrana old boy Sandro Ramirez.

Barca looked for a swift response as defender Alejandro Balde got clear down the left, but his ball into the penalty area was cleared behind.

Sandro tested Barca keeper Inaki Pena with an angled drive at the near post following another fluid counter attack by the hosts.

Las Palmas continued to press, with Pena first making a smart save from Javier Munoz’s rising drive before Sandro’s deflected effort from the rebound hit the base of the post.

There was a slight delay at the start of the second half as the bottom of the goal net which Barcelona would be attacking needed some repairs.

Barca threatened when Raphinha fired over from the edge of the penalty area.

The equaliser eventually came in the 55th minute when the ball took a couple of fortuitously defections through the Las Palmas penalty area and fell to Torres, who slotted into the bottom corner.

Frenkie De Jong fired straight at Las Palmas goalkeeper Alvaro Valles after being set up by the busy Gundogan.

Barca boss Xavi made a change for the closing 20 minutes, as Robert Lewandowski was replaced by Joao Felix and Lamine Yamal came on for Raphinha.

Las Palmas went close when Mika Marmol glanced a header wide from a corner before Roque was handed his Barca debut in the 79th minute, coming on for Torres.

Just when it looked like Barca would have to settle for a point, Las Palmas substitute Sinkgraven bundled over Gundogan at the far post as the midfielder looked to head the ball in – and was shown a straight red card.

Gundogan picked himself up and took the resulting penalty himself to calmly slot in a stoppage-time winner before Roque stabbed a late chance wide from six yards.

Sergi Roberto came to Barcelona’s rescue with a brace to finally see off rock-bottom Almeria 3-2 as the LaLiga champions returned to winning ways.

The hosts looked set to stretch their winless run to four games in all competitions after twice being pegged back by opponents still in search of their first league win of the season.

But the 31-year-old latched on to a through-ball from Robert Lewandowski in the 83rd minute to grab the points which take his side back within four points of second-placed Real Madrid.

Xavi’s men were overwhelming favourites as they aimed to shrug off their recent poor run, and they started on top.

Joao Felix floated a free-kick just over the crossbar then Sergi Roberto saw his first chance well saved by busy Almeria goalkeeper Luis Maximiano.

Joao Cancelo was next up with an effort that he drilled straight at the keeper, before Fermin Lopez headed over from Ilkay Gundogan’s pinpoint cross.

Sergi Roberto blasted over from long-range on the half-hour mark before Barca finally made their seemingly inevitable breakthrough three minutes later when Ronald Araujo’s deflected effort fell to Raphinha who fired it into an empty net.

Lewandowski almost doubled Barcelona’s lead before Almeria snatched their chance to level four minutes before the break, Leo Baptistao lofting the ball over advancing Barca keeper Inaki Pena and surviving a VAR check.

Baptistao had a chance to put his side in front before the break but dragged an effort wide and normal service resumed early in the second period with substitute Ferran Torres and Lewandowski both denied.

Sergi Roberto grabbed his opener on the hour when he met Raphinha’s corner with a header at the near post to put Barcelona back in front.

But the lead lasted barely 10 minutes before the hosts were undone by a calamitous error by Pena, who dropped the ball in a collision with Araujo, allowing the alert Edgar Gonzalez to slide it into an empty net.

The hosts responded well, Araujo making up for his part in the equaliser by heading just wide, before Gundogan contrived to somehow miss his chance with the goal at his mercy.

Sergi Roberto finally grabbed what proved to be the decider in the 83rd minute when he ran on to Lewandowski’s ball through the middle to seal three hard-earned points.

Lewandowski almost added a fourth and the captain was denied a hat-trick deep into added time when his effort rattled back off the woodwork.

Barcelona booked their passage to the Champions League last 16 for the first time in three seasons as Joao Felix’s second-half goal secured a 2-1 comeback win at home to Porto.

The former Atletico Madrid and Chelsea forward netted just before the hour mark after being set up by Joao Cancelo to seal the win and ensure it would not be a third consecutive group stage exit for Xavi’s side, despite having been given an early scare by the Portuguese side.

It was former Real Madrid stalwart Pepe who scored the goal for Porto that looked like it would set Barca up for a nervous final matchday in two weeks’ time, at 40 years old breaking his own record as the oldest ever goalscorer in the competition.

The lead lasted barely two minutes and it was ex-Manchester City player Cancelo who levelled in spectacular fashion.

Pedri swept a pass out wide to Cancelo advancing down the left but there was plenty still for the Portugal international to do as he carried the ball into the box and unleashed a superb right-footed effort that flew into the far corner.

Felix then got forward after the break to finish from Cancelo’s pass and secure a priceless win.

Shakhtar Donetsk’s earlier victory against Royal Antwerp had meant that Barca and Porto went into their match locked together on nine points with the Ukrainian champions, but Felix’s winner means Xavi’s side can relax in their final match against Antwerp whilst the other two teams play off for the right to join them in the last 16.

Barca earlier announced that teenage midfielder Gavi had undergone a “successful” operation on his torn anterior cruciate ligament, which is expected to rule him out for the rest of the season and the European Championship next summer.

Barcelona snatched a late equaliser as they were held to a 1-1 draw at Rayo Vallecano.

Florian Lejeune’s late own goal rescued a point for Xavi’s side but their slip-up opened the door for Real Madrid and surprise leaders Girona to extend their advantage in the title race.

Vallecano made most of the running in the first period and got their reward with a stunning Unai Lopez volley in the 39th minute.

Barcelona went in search of an equaliser in the second period as chances from Pedri, Ferran Torres and Joao Cancelo all went begging but Lejeune’s 82nd-minute own goal gave the Catalan giants a reprieve.

Vallecano made a bright start and had the first chance of the game but Isi Palazon’s effort from outside the area flew over the crossbar.

Palazon proved to be a menace and tried his luck again a couple of minutes later but his drilled effort was parried by Inaki Pena before the goalkeeper grabbed at the second attempt.

Barcelona failed to make an impression in the opening stages but had their first shot on target in the 28th minute when Lamine Yamal rode the challenge of three defenders into the area before smashing straight into the hands of Stole Dimitrievski.

Vallecano were straight back on the front foot and threatened to break the deadlock but Lopez’s goalbound effort was blocked by Andreas Christensen.

The home side’s deserved lead came in the 38th minute in superb fashion as Oscar Trejo’s initial effort was blocked out to Lopez, who smashed in on the volley from distance past the diving Pena.

Vallecano were inches away from doubling their advantage as Jorge De Frutos fizzed a ball into the six-yard box, which needed to be cleared by Alejandro Balde to keep the deficit to just one at the break.

Barcelona started the second half with much more intent than the first and came close to levelling things up but Cancelo’s curling effort from outside the area lifted just over the bar.

Chances began to come freely for the away side as Oriol Romeu’s cross found Ferran Torres free in space but his effort went straight to Dimitrievski.

Two minutes later another glorious opportunity came and went when Robert Lewandowski’s cross found Pedri in the six-yard area but he nodded over with the goal at his mercy.

With 15 minutes to go, the Barcelona pressure was now relentless and they were denied an equaliser by the woodwork when Raphinha’s shot from range crashed off the post.

But Barcelona had their equaliser in the 82nd minute as Lewandowski sent a ball across the box and Lejeune stuck a foot out but could only turn into his own goal.

Joao Cancelo’s 89th-minute goal completed an amazing comeback by Barcelona as they scored three times in the final 10 minutes to beat Celta Vigo 3-2.

Rafael Benitez’s Celta put in an excellent display and looked home and hosed as they went 2-0 up after 76 minutes when Tasos Douvikas added to Jorgen Strand Larsen’s excellent first-half goal.

But they succumbed to an incredible late rally that no one saw coming as Robert Lewandowski scored twice in four minutes before former Manchester City defender Cancelo won it with one minute of normal time.

The comeback will paper over the cracks of what was a worrying display for Barca, who were cut open at will by a vibrant Celta side, but Xavi’s men go to the top of the table with the three points.

Benitez will be highly enthused by what he saw from his team, even if they are just one point above the drop zone.

They looked more like the team at the top of the table with an incisive first-half performance, which was rewarded with a 19th-minute lead.

Barca could not clear a corner properly and on the second phase Lucca De La Torre slipped in Larsen and the Norwegian produced a fine shot into the bottom corner with a finish his compatriot Erling Haaland would have been proud of.

They should have led 2-0 five minutes before the break but Marc-Andre Ter Stegen produced a one-handed save to deny Larsen. The rebound fell to Jonathan Bamba and he was primed to score until Oriol Romeu produced a fine block. The danger was still not over as the ball fell to De La Torre, but he blazed over with the goal at his mercy.

Celta thought they should have had a penalty early in the second half as their pace caused a constant threat on the break, but VAR ruled in the hosts’ favour.

There was no escape, though, in the 76th minute as the visitors got their deserved second, which at the time looked to have sealed the points.

They launched a quick counter-attack and Douvikas raced on to Iago Aspas’ perfect pass to convert with a bobbled finish.

But Barca showed, even playing away from the Nou Camp, they can have a fortress in Estadi Olímpic Lluis Companys as they produced a fine three-goal salvo in eight minutes.

Lewandowski started things off when he latched on to Joao Felix’s ball and hooked home in off the crossbar.

Three minutes later it was all square as the Poland striker tucked home from Cancelo’s cross.

Cancelo then took stage to win it in the 89th minute when he arrived in the box to convert Gavi’s cross and seal a sixth succesive win in all competitions.

Barcelona have signed Joao Felix on loan from Atletico Madrid.

The Portugal forward has joined Barcelona until June 2024, with no option for a permanent transfer.

“The club wishes to thank the player publicly for the financial effort made and his desire to wear the Barca shirt,” read a Barcelona statement.

“Now, at just 23 years of age, and after expressing his long-held desire to be a blaugrana, Joao Felix has the chance to show the world his talent in a Barca shirt.”

Felix said of his move on the Barcelona Twitter feed: “It was always my dream since I was a kid.”

After breaking through at Benfica, Felix joined Atletico in the summer of 2019 and made more than 100 appearances in three-and-a-half seasons for them.

He spent the second half of last season on loan at Chelsea, scoring four goals in 20 appearances.

Barca later announced the arrival of Manchester City defender Joao Cancelo, also for the duration of the 2023-24 season.

The 29-year-old Portuguese, who has made 154 appearances for City, spent time with Bayern Munich last term.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.