BARCELONA

Barcelona: Setién urges UEFA to allow Napoli game to be played at Camp Nou

Quique Setién's Barcelona side drew with Napoli back in February's first leg, and he says the Italians should not be spared a Camp Nou trip.

Barcelona boss Setien urges UEFA to allow Camp Nou clash with Napoli

Quique Setién has called for UEFA to allow Barcelona to play out their Champions League Last 16 return leg against Napoli at Camp Nou rather than at a neutral ground. A 1-1 draw in Naples on 25 February should have been followed on 18 March by the second leg in Barcelona, but the coronavirus pandemic forced the match to be called off.

That left the last-16 tie hanging in the balance, and UEFA said on Wednesday the second leg will now be played on 7 or 8 August. Barcelona feel it would only be fair for the Napoli match to be played on their own pitch, given that the Italians had home advantage for the first game. UEFA has held off making a ruling so far but could tell the clubs to play at a neutral ground in Portugal, given the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final of the competition will all be hosted in Lisbon from 12-23 August.

"What I hope is that against Napoli we can play here," Setién said on Thursday. "They already played at home with a lot of people cheering on their team."

Napoli crowned Cup champions

Napoli showed their improvement under coach Gennaro Gattuso by edging out Juventus on penalties to win the Coppa Italia on Wednesday, and they pose a major threat to Barcelona's hopes of progressing. Setién is also wary of the format that UEFA has imposed from the quarter-finals onwards, albeit conscious they had little other option than to compress the rest of the competition to one-off matches, given time constraints.

He said: "I think it is worse, but not only for Barca, for everyone. With two games you have the possibility of solving a mistake in one of them. We all would like to play a two-leg game, but the circumstances are what they are, and you have to adapt. There are many new circumstances and this is going to be another."