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