Aubameyang caps Barça’s victory at Napoli to seal Europa League progress | Europa League

Barcelona hit top gear to trounce Napoli 4-2 away from home and sail into the last 16 of the Europa League 5-3 on aggregate.

Jordi Alba gave Barça the lead in the eighth minute of the knockout stage play-off second leg with a rare strike on his weaker right foot and Frenkie de Jong put the Catalans further ahead with a curling shot after being teed up by a sumptuous backheel from Ferran Torres.

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Real Betis advanced by holding Zenit St Petersburg to a goalless draw at home and winning 3-2 on aggregate. The Russians were denied a late goal that would have sent the game into extra-time as a VAR review spotted a foul in the build up to Dmitri Chistyakov’s strike.

Earlier, six-times winners Sevilla were made to sweat to reach the last 16 as they were beaten 1-0 at Dinamo Zagreb and had to survive a nervy finale with 10 men before progressing 3-2 on aggregate. Sevilla’s Marcos Acuña was punished when the ball bounced on to his hand and Mislav Orsic slotted home the penalty in the 65th minute.

Thomas Delaney was sent off for a second booking in the 91st and Dinamo hemmed the Spaniards into their area for the six minutes of added time, even throwing their goalkeeper up to contest a late free kick.

Porto also had to scrap deep into added time to earn their place in the last 16, drawing 2-2 at Lazio to squeeze through 4-3 on aggregate. RB Leipzig won 3-1 at Real Sociedad to progress 5-3 on aggregate while Atalanta hammered Olympiakos 3-0 to complete a 5-1 aggregate win.

Braga needed a penalty shootout to defeat Sheriff Tiraspol after drawing 2-2 over the two legs.

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A Lorenzo Insigne penalty gave Napoli hope but Gerard Piqué restored the Spanish’s two-goal advantage right before half-time.

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In-form Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang added a fourth in the second period, scoring for the fourth time in two games after hitting a hat-trick at Valencia in La Liga on Sunday. Matteo Politano reduced the deficit to two goals in the 87th.

Piqué was delighted with his side’s performance after what was perhaps their best display since Xavi Hernández took over as coach in November. “For a while the team have not been competing at the level a club like Barca should but we have returned to our roots, to the way we should always play, the way we perhaps had stopped playing,” he told reporters. “This performance is a message for us and for everyone else. Little by little, we’re coming back.”

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