Napoli fretting on injuries ahead of Barca showdown

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Victor Osimhen saved a point for Napoli in Sardinia with an 87th-minute equaliser but did not start the game as Spalletti tried to save the players he could for the showdown with Barca at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona.

Captain Lorenzo Insigne and key midfielders Stanislav Lobotka and Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa were among those unavailable on Monday, and Spalletti also started with Fabian Ruiz and Adam Ounas on the bench with an eye on Thursday’s clash.

“We’re hoping to play them with players who are fit and in a position to play,” said Spalletti.

“We hope to have them all available. This is the kind of game that you dreamed about as a child… I’ve waited a lifetime to play them.”

Napoli emerged with a lot of credit from last week’s 1-1 draw at the Camp Nou which leaves the tie on a knife-edge.

They played with verve and confidence for the first hour, deservedly going ahead through Piotr Zielinski before succumbing to tiredness and Barcelona’s trademark possession football.

Ferran Torres levelled from the penalty spot but missed a number of chances which could have easily pushed the tie in the Catalans’ favour.

Barca come into the match in high spirits after running out 4-1 winners at Valencia and moving into La Liga’s top four thanks to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s hat-trick.

Xavi’s team are unbeaten in five and with the Gabon striker in their ranks after he quit Arsenal they have a serious goal threat who could push Barca back into the Champions League.

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