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Dublin: 5 °C Wednesday 19 December, 2018


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Good evening and very welcome along to our big Wednesday Champions League liveblog.

Of course, there’s action already under way across the continent with PSG’s cruise (4-0 at HT) against Red Star catching the eye, but our focus will be firmly on the 8pm kick-offs when Napoli host Liverpool and Spurs meet Barcelona.

Get yourself in and settled, because this could get a little wild.

Here are the line-ups for the Wembley encounter:

Messi in, Kane in.

Here we go then. The teams are emerging from the tunnel in London and Napoli, so kick-off is upon us.

Napoli, as you might expect, enjoying the best of the early possession on home turf. Sadio Mane showing a bit of spark, making Hamsik track back.

Keita catches Maksimovic with a challenge, but otherwise the sides are tentatively feeling one another out.


Leo Messi threads a sumptuous ball from midfield to find Jordi Alba raiding on the left. Hugo Lloris loses the head and hares out to the right side of his area to close down the fullback and it’s all too easy to find a way around him.

Alba cuts the pass back to the edge of the area and Coutinho bends in a low finish through scrambling defenders. 


Meanwhile in Napoli, Liverpool look to be settling into a rhythm and are making half chances with both sides stretched along the length of the field.

As I type though, it’s Napoli who create the best chance so far, with Insigne finding acres of space in the left channel and flashes a shot past the far post and Alisson.


Insigne looks bright again in Italy, slipping the ball past Keita and attempting an audacious curling 30-yard effort. It whistles wide.


Keita down receiving treatment now and looks somewhat distressed by the injury. He’s taken off by stretcher and Jordan Henderson is getting ready to come on in his place. 

A blow to Liverpool’s midfield.


In Wembley, the Chilean Jordan Henderson – Arturo Vidal – is getting warmed up too as Busquets calls for attention after taking a knock mid-slide tackle.

Barcelona well in control after 25 minutes there. 


But there is the x-factor that will continue to pose a danger to the La Liga giants. Harry Kane lets fly from distance. Ter Stegen does well to catch the ball clean after it skids off the turf.


GOAL! Spurs 0 Barcelona 2 (Rakitic ’28)


An utterly cracking strike from the Croatian has Barca firmly in the driver’s seat.

It comes with a bit of luck as Coutinho attempted to volley, mis-hit but was lively enough to react and knock the ball back to the edge where Rakitic arrived to connect with a textbook volley that pinged in off the post.


Virgil van Dijk not having the most comfortable evening in Napoli. He gets a cross caught between his feet and it bobbles to Milik who blasts a shot on target.

Allison is well up to the effort and knocks it skywards before cleaning up.



Spurs have shifted up a gear since going two down. They work it wide and Lamela flashes a cross along the six yard line. There’s a touch goalwards that looks destined to halve the deficit, but Stegen reaches high while diving left and manages to bat the shot away. 


Napoli probe for an opening on the stroke of half-time, Hamsik drilling a pass through to find Callejon beyond the back post. He’s caught offside though, so the chance doesn’t materialise.

James Milner picks up a yellow card before the interval for a clattering challenge.

Half-time scores

Napoli 0 Liverpool 0

Spurs 0 Barcelona 2

Porto 0 Galatasaray 0

Dortmund 0 Monaco 0

Atletico 1 Club Brugge 1

PSV 1 Inter Milan 1


And we’re off again for the second halves. 

Can Spurs find a miracle, can Liverpool grab a firm foot-hold?



Wembley gets that sinking feeling as Messi opens up his stride and runs at three Spurs defenders. He opens up room for a shot off his left from 20 yards and attempts to pass the ball to the bottom corner. He beats Lloris, but not the post.


Another save drawn out of Allison as Milik tests his range again, it’s another powerful, cleanly-struck shot and Liverpool defenders had to be on their toes to clear the rebound from danger.


GOAL! Spurs 1 Barcelona 2 (Harry Kane ’51)

After Messi unleashes an identical off-the-post effort to his last one, Spurs counter and get Harry Kane in space on the left channel. He cuts back inside and hits a fine curled finish beyond Ter Stegen.


He was frustrated by his last two left-footed strikes, but you can’t keep him at bay a third time.

Barca do well to suck the pace out of the game after Spurs pull one back and Messi gets on the end of a Jordi Alba cross and the ball flies in to put the game beyond Spurs again.


Fabian Ruiz has found himself on the end of a few chances for Napoli, the best came moments ago as Hamsik slipped him through, but he looked clumsy when the space opened up and he couldn’t get the ball out of his feet long enough to get the visitors really worried. 


GOAL!! Spurs 2 Barcelona 3 (Lamela ’65)


Game on again. Kane wins possession in the right channel and passes inside to Son, he defers to Lamela and he unleashes a shot which gets deflected beyond Stegen.


Chance for Salah!

The Egyptian gets a shot away under pressure on the edge of the area. Ball came his way from a mis-hit clearance and he was never ideally set to strike. The ball always curving away right of the target.


Ospina had o be on his toes to deny Liverpool there. An excellent through-ball from Firmino comes oh so close to connecting with Mane, but the keeper was alive to it and disrupted.

Straight up the other end though and Callejon ghosts in at the far post again. Allison called into action this time to close the Spaniard down.


OFF THE LINE!  Gomez to the rescue for Liverpool as Callejon once again finds space at the back stick. This time his shot beats Allison, but finds a defender.


Liverpool force their way to a bit of pressure thanks to the high press. Jordan Henderson dribbles down the wing and Salah gets a chance to control on the edge of the area – albeit with his back to goal – but the move fizzles out with a poor Robertson pass.



Dries Mertens sends the ball beyong Allison, but it comes crashing back off the underside. A fizzed cross from Fabian meant the ball needed just a glance, but Mertens got a full shin on it.


This game in Napoli is still for the taking. Ospina does well to hare off his line and beat Salah to an incisive through ball. Had the Egyptian won the race, he would have been round the keeper with an empty net to aim at. 


GOAL!!  Spurs 2 Barcelona 4 (Messi ’89)


Napoli have been pounding on the door and Insigne has finally forced it open.

Mertens cut a pass back for Callejon raiding down the right and he flashed a brilliant cross along the face of the goal and found the hometown hero sliding in.

Thoroughly deserved lead for Carlo Ancelotti’s side. 

About the author:

Sean Farrell


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